Jerry Dietz, Cornbread for Kids

“…having cornbread with chili is as much a ‘no-brainer’ as making sure children are well fed everyday with nutritious food. “

Each February, The Commons holds Ithaca’s annual Chili Cookoff, where participating chefs and restaurants compete to make the best chilis or chili inspired products. Among the many stands, you’ll also find one offering cornbread for a donation. If this food match made in heaven isn’t enough to entice you, you’ll certainly be moved by the fact that all donations go towards a program serving healthy snacks to elementary school kids.

Jerry Dietz, PR of Cornbread for Kids

Here’s a note from Jerry, sharing with us Cornbread for Kids’ background and this year’s success at the Chili Cookoff:

“We were thrilled at the response to our cornbread. We made nearly twice the amount of cornbread that we have made in the past and, as we have done for the past seven years, we sold out!  

Cornbread for Kids started in 2010 as a way to help, a then fledgling program called, The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program that had gotten started at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School.  The idea then, as it remains today, is to make sure every child at the schools that have the program, get a fresh fruit or vegetable snack every day. 

The program has grown to where it is now in 4 of the 7 elementary schools in the Ithaca City School District and the name has been changed to the Fresh Snack Program. 



Our committee came up with the idea to sell the cornbread at the Chili Cook-off because having cornbread with chili is as much a ‘no-brainer’ as making sure children are well fed everyday with nutritious food.  This helps them to not be hungry and to, in turn, be able to focus on learning. At the time we came along with our idea. the Chili Cook-off organizers had  not let anyone else serve food at the event other than the chili served by the restaurants. They made an exception for us an we remain grateful for their support of our efforts. 

We make the cornbread ourselves and we have always been fortunate to get all of our ingredients donated. We are especially grateful to the Ithaca Bakery, truly one of this community’s most valuable resources, for allowing us to use their space and equipment each year to bake the cornbread. In our 8 years of doing the fundraiser we have been able to contribute over $12,000 to the program. It is just great fun and we look forward to doing it every year!”


Special thank you to Jerry for providing this note! 



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