Special olympics tent 2023Neither rain, nor cold, nor wind, could stop the 34 Immanuel volunteers from showing up to serve healthy snacks and beverages to the athletes competing at the Special Olympics Track and Field meet this past Sunday. We not only served those who came to our tent – our volunteers also took the snacks out to the athletes. Besides the help received from the volunteers, there were so many other people, including Thrivent, who donated the food and beverages for us to serve. This included vegetables, fruits, bagels, crackers and cheese and granola bars. Our new addition this year was coffee – what a year to start serving that. People were lined up to get a cup. One person, just wanted a cup, so she could warm her hands.

The athletes and their families were so appreciative. We have been doing this for 26 years, and they are still amazed that this is all free.

Here are a few highlights we would like to share:

One of our volunteers said that for 17 years her family enjoyed coming to our Hospitality Tent as her child competed in the events. And, now this year, she wanted to give back, so she, her son and one of his friends pitched in and helped prepare and serve the food. The boys even learned how to peel carrots.

A guest who came to our tent had given his jacket to a young man who was cold. Then, as the guest stood by our tent, you could tell he was now getting cold. So, one of our volunteers literally gave the man “the sweater off his back”. It is amazing how serving others brings out the best in people. By the way, at the end of the event, the guest stopped by our tent to return the sweatshirt – he was so grateful!

One of the best parts of the day was when the athletes would stop by the tent and show us their medals and describe how they won them. Seeing the joy on their faces as they talked was awesome. It is the reason we keep doing this every year. It warms our hearts to celebrate them!
Thank you so much, Immanuel Church and School, for sharing your time and treasures for this ministry.

God’s blessing to all of you,
Carol Hajkaluk and Elaine Schmitt