COC Executive Director, John Eilers accepts a check from April Olson.

Two things that say summer in Iowa, is sweet corn and the Iowa State Fair.  So, when Look, Cook, and Eat (LCE), a digital cooking magazine, announced their Super Special Sweet Corn Creations contest, there were over 18 participants who jumped on the opportunity to enter.  Look, Cook, and Eat, isn’t just any digital cooking magazine, it has a specific goal.  Their goal is to help individuals with disabilities lead a more independent lifestyle, by teaching cooking and kitchen skills.

The competition, held during the Iowa State Fair, brought many different corn creations to the inaugural year of the Super Special Sweet Corn Creation Contest.  The recipes ranged from corn appetizers, corn salads, and the 2nd place winner was sweet corn and chicken eggrolls with a creamy cilantro sauce.  But, the recipe that took home the 1st place prize was Sweet Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies!

The winner of the contest was April Olson, who is a senior in high school.  She decided to enter the contest after her special education teacher at Knoxville High School informed her class about the competition.  As part of Aprils winnings, she received $500 cash and had the opportunity to donate $500 to an organization of her choice, which serves people with disabilities.  April chose Christian Opportunity Center (COC) as the recipient of the $500 donation.  April was introduced to COC by April’s older sister, a college student who worked part-time at COC this summer.

COC provides residential and vocational services to over 260 individuals with disabilities in Central Iowa.  John Eilers, COC Executive Director, “On behalf of the Christian Opportunity Center, we want to congratulate April on winning the State Fair cooking contest and thank her for her generosity in choosing COC for the $500 donation.  April exhibited a great deal of creativity in developing her award-winning cookies!  Thanks to Look, Cook, and Eat for their sponsorship of this event as well.” 

Founded in 1969, COC has proudly been serving Individuals with disabilities in Marion, Mahaska, Warren, and Polk counties for nearly 50 years.  For more information visit or connect with Christian Opportunity Center on Facebook and IowaCOC on Twitter.