Lion's Club Sells Snacks to Benefit Local Charities
Not everyone is turning a profit on the fairgrounds at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo. The local Downtown Lion’s Club has set up two snack bars on the expansive site and are donating all proceeds to a long list of charitable organizations.
Jim Hartel, head of the concession committee for the club this year, explains that with a tremendous amount of help from Lion’s Club volunteers and from Goodfellow Air Force Base, the two locations hope to turn over $10,000 this year to groups such as Boy Scouts of America, the ICD Newbridge Shelter, Concho Valley Food Bank, Needy Children with Eye Care and Glasses, and several others.
“The whole reason for Lion’s Club is to generate money to give away to charities that need them,” Hartel explains. “We give thousands of dollars away every year. Nothing is kept for ourselves, except we have a dinner once a year.”
Of the two snack stations, one is set up on the midway, the other near the pavilion. The bars run different schedules to meet the needs of traffic, one of which starts as early as 6:30 a.m. to serve breakfast to hungry stock show and rodeo participants.
“It’s a full time job,” Hartel says. “It’s a lot of fun working out here. This snack bar here (on the midway) is mostly manned by volunteers from the 316th squadron out at the base. They do most of the manning out here, because we don’t have enough manpower ourselves to run these two snack bars.”
The Lion’s Club sets up at rodeo every year, Hartel says. The event is the biggest for the club of the year, grossing the largest profit to be turned over to other organizations. Hartel estimates that the club donates approximately $16,000 per annum, the majority of which is earned at the rodeo, with the Roping Fiesta bringing in the second largest amount.
By comparison, Hartel says, the Roping Fiesta actually is more profitable in terms of dollars earned per hour, bringing in roughly $6,500 over a span of two days. The rodeo provides a great opportunity to raise funds over a longer period, however Hartel notes increased competition with a variety of other vendors lining rows of fair food.
“These guys out here, this is their living, they’re making a living,” he said. “We’re volunteers, which puts a little bit different slant on stuff. I imagine these guys like this third week that they put in, but for the volunteers it’s made it rough this year.” Operational costs are another factor, he says. “…the expenses are going up every year. You can only just charge people so much money.”
After the ice storm put a freeze on productivity citywide, Hartel said the start was particularly rough this year, with several chores remaining before the gates opened at 5:00 p.m. Friday. Nonetheless, he said he enjoys the time spent at the rodeo, and the good turn his club does for charities.
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