Contestants chow down meatballs to raise funds for Italian quake victims

Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:15am EDT
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(Reuters) - A meatball eating contest at a restaurant on New York's Upper East Side saw patrons engorging themselves on the traditional food to raise money for victims of the earthquake that devastated parts of central Italy last month.

"I've been thinking for like two, three days, what can I do? What can I do to help ... the best way to raise money to give to those people in need ... 65,000 people displaced. They're homeless, simply, homeless," explained Nino Selimaj, owner of Nino's Restaurant. "So, I said let me try and maybe we'll raise some money."

Nino's will donate proceeds from the sale of meatball dishes to the relief fund for the duration of the Feast of San Gennaro from Sept. 15th through Sept. 25.

"When I hear anything to do with my Italian heritage, I'm in," said professional speed eater Ed 'Cookie' Jarvis, who won the meatball-eating contest at Nino's by downing nine meatballs in a minute.

(Reporting by Reuters TV)

Competitive eater Ed Jarvis uses a spoon to eat during a meatball eating contest in New York, U.S., September 14, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson