LANCASTER — Local law enforcement will feel the heat later this month.
Six officers will participate in the One Chip Challenge on Jan. 14 to support the Tyler Blain House Homeless Shelter.
They — along with Blain House Manager Erik Becker — will each consume a single, individually wrapped chip seasoned with the hottest peppers on the planet: Carolina reaper and scorpion chili.
The event will be live streamed so that the public can witness all of the spice, sweat and tears.
Organizers aim to raise $2,000 for Blain House, a 10-bed shelter in Lancaster.
For more information or to donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/ppfrd
Lancaster Police Sgt. Jonathan Woodworth conceived the fundraiser after a department employee purchased the chips as a gag.
Woodworth thought the public might pay to see officers toast their tastebuds.
Looking for a fundraising recipient, he reached out to Becker.
Becker thought the One Chip Challenge was a great idea.
“We joked around about how it would be fun and awful and hopefully raise some money at the same time,” Becker said.
For Becker, it was another example of North Country law enforcement doing the right thing.
Through Blain House, and his longtime activism against substance abuse, Becker has repeatedly seen local officers act in the best interests of the public. He called the One Chip Challenge a light-hearted way to address problems they encounter on a daily basis.
“They’re on the front line dealing with very complex societal issues, and this is a way to do something positive in that regard,” he said, adding that shelter staff and law enforcement “all work together.”
Five others have signed up for the challenge: Gorham, Lt. Jimmy Willhoite; Berlin officers, Noah Dumas and Michael Pearson; Colebrook, Cpl. Cole Noyes; and Whitefield, Cpl. Patrick Carr.
There is an eighth chip available, should another officer want to prove their mettle.
The One Chip Challenge consists of participants eating a single fiery chip and seeing how long they can go without eating or drinking to soothe the burn.
Videos of One Chip Challenges elsewhere show people in distress, sweating, cursing and shedding tears.
The chips come in a coffin shaped container with a warning on the back. The web site touts “This chip will destroy you.”
The key ingredient, Carolina reapers, carry a Scoville heat-index rating on par with tactical pepper spray.
Becker suggested that the participant who goes the longest without seeking relief through water, milk, or other remedies will get to present the check in their department’s name.
It’s unclear who will donate more — Those who support the cops or those who want a little revenge for a speeding ticket.
Either way, the money raised will benefit the most vulnerable.
Joked Becker, “It will be a really awful time for a really great cause.”