Baldwin pours out for Wood
Baldwin City resident Kevin Wood and his two sons will be thanking the community for its generous support last week when they sit down for their Thanksgiving meal Thursday.
Members of the Baldwin City and Baker University communities graciously came out to support Wood's wife, Sherrie Wood, by donating more than $10,000 at the chili supper.
The dinner served more than 600 people and packed the Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center's cafeteria Nov. 15.
"It was unbelievable," K. Wood said. "When I walked in and saw all of those people, I was just floored. It was overwhelming. We are definitely thankful."
Alice Gurley, co-organizer of the event, said the crowd was the largest she has witnessed at any benefit dinner.
"I've done several of these benefit dinners and this is the biggest one I've ever seen," Gurley said. "Everybody really pitched in for this."
Susan Emel, Baker University associate professor of communication, was also astounded by the event.
"I was amazed," Emel said. "I was amazed at the turnout and the results. It was fabulous. I've never seen a chili supper produce so much."
The benefit supper was held to assist the Wood family with medical expenses. S. Wood is battling cancer. Freewill donations were collected as people walked into the cafeteria.
K. Wood was very surprised at how much money was donated.
"That was no where near what I was expecting," K. Wood said. "The generosity of everyone was great."
Gurley was impressed by the community's support for S. Wood.
"It was a great night," Gurley said. "Sherrie is very popular. It was a wonderful night."
S. Wood worked at Baker as the communication department assistant. Emel said the department members were glad to see they weren't the only ones who cared so much about S. Wood.
"We've been really heartsick about her," Emel said. "I was glad to see that we're not the only ones who felt that way about her."
All of the food and drinks at the event were donated. Gurley said everyone that contributed was very helpful, especially Baker University.
After nearly an hour, the organizers of the event ran out of chili, so they began serving vegetable soup. Soon after that, they ran out of soup also, but Gurley said people still ate other foods.
"They didn't care that we ran out of food," Gurley said. "They ate desserts or cinnamon rolls, because we ran out of chili and soup."
Despite the lack of food near the end of the event, K. Wood was very pleased with the evening.
"I was telling one of my sons that I didn't realize she has touched the entire town," K. Wood said. "Both of my sons are proud of their mom and the support from everyone. It was nice for them to see that."