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Roanoke rivals come together to serve chili, help homeless students

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Two Roanoke high school rivals, Patrick Henry and William Fleming, are coming together Wednesday to offer dinner and a way to help homeless students.

Roanoke culinary students had help making chili for a fundraiser at the boy's basketball game at PH on Wednesday night.

The varsity game starts at 7:30 p.m. but dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m.

SodexoMAGIC Food Service helped get all the food and service-wear donated from its vendors. Attendees can buy a bowl of chili, a baked potato and a drink for just $5. All of the money raised will go to the Help the Homeless fund for kids in the school system. It was started 18 months ago to prevent families from becoming homeless.

"There's always a friendly rivalry between Patrick Henry and Fleming," smiled Roanoke Technical Education Center Principal Kathleen Duncan. "So what we wanted to do was have a fun night that is here to support a very serious concern of ours and a problem that exists around the Roanoke Valley. I think that that allows everyone to get engaged and do something positive. To make a negative a positive."

Right now, there are 387 homeless students identified in Roanoke City Public Schools. That's down 98 from this time last year, but school administrators said there's been an increase of 50 homeless students since the holidays when they typically see the numbers go up.

The school system has spent $5,655 assisting 44 families (90 students) to date. The fund pays for expenses including a utility bill or rent to prevent an eviction. It's used when other community resources have been exhausted, administrators say.