BBBS Chili Cookoff & Cornhole Tournament

Six honorees that are leaving their mark on Jefferson City

While it may only take one person to make a difference, Jefferson City Magazine recognizes six individuals and entities that are making substantial impacts in the lives of many. With their generosity and diligence, this group makes it their mission to put others before themselves, despite their already busy schedules. Not only have they given back to their community with enthusiasm, they are a privilege to work with and lead others by example. With this recognition, this set of six can now join their fellow Impact JCMO honorees in making Jefferson City a more beautiful place to live.

One person can change a life. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson City sees this every day as adult volunteers bring trust and stability to children in need of positive role models. Formed in 1988, BBBSJC matches adult volunteers (known as “bigs”) with children facing adversity (known as “littles”). Bigs and littles meet about one to two hours a week either at the little’s schools or somewhere out in the community to build bonds and enjoy activities together. Bigs and littles are matched based on similar interests, and the time spent together helps create strong, supportive relationships that can leave lasting impacts on children growing up.

“By providing that positive adult influence that is a consistent friend, the littles are able to see different possibilities for their future,” says BBBSJC Program Director Lee Knernschield. “I feel like our program can be that link between a kid graduating from high school and not graduating from high school, or making better personal choices in their life.”

While BBBSJC understands the lasting effects these relationships have, the nonprofit continues to be overwhelmed by the community support it receives every year — particularly during its Chili Cook-Off and Cornhole Tournament. Named the Most Impactful JCMO Fund-raiser/Event, the BBBSJC Chili Cook-Off and Cornhole Tournament featured a new twist this past year, which helped raise thousands of dollars for the nonprofit and local children. During the 2021 event, roughly 20 teams, formed from local businesses, prepared and served chili. The recognized selections included Newman, Comley & RuthP.C. (first place), Farmer Companies (second place), and Joe Machens (third place). The event’s new feature included a cornhole tournament, which replaced the signature BBBSJC’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser. Of the 32 teams that participated in the cornhole tournament, Team Ozzie placed first and Team Veltrop took second.

The fundraiser was a great success bringing in more than $20,000. This was a huge benefit to BBBSJC being able to continue making a difference as those funds are instrumental in financing enrollment screenings, matching, and supervising adult volunteers and children together.

“We think this is going to be something we continue to grow and see it become even larger and more successful in the future,” Lee says.

BBBSJC is hopeful to raise even more funds at this year’s event, which will be held October 13 at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fair-grounds. Those interested in doing more like becoming a big through-out the year can call (573) 634-3290 or complete an application at

“We look for that volunteer who can be a consistent friend and show up each week for a child,” Lee says. “It’s an investment of your time to help a child by being their friend, support system and cheerleader.

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