THE PHILIPPINES—This week, the Angeles City congregation concluded its five-day concessions fundraiser at the biennial Southeast Asian Games (November 30-December 8). Groups of 10 to 15 Volunteers manned a Homerun Hotdogs stand.
Holding the fundraiser involved hurdling several obstacles, including obtaining the franchise for concessionaires, and facing a powerful typhoon that was forecasted to hit the game sites in Manila and Clark with rain and winds as high as 150 mph.
All area congregations were asked to pray about these challenges, and approval from the organizing committee came, just five days before the games began. Upon approval, member volunteers quickly finalized the logo and menu, prepared uniforms, purchased supplies and held a dry run. They also contributed their own personal equipment, including a refrigerator, electric griddles, coolers, a 5-foot display case, and décor. The PCG was also permitted to erect extra tents, tables and chairs, that boosted the number of customers, which included fans, organizers, coaches and athletes. One customer was impressed by the arrangement enough to ask, “Do you franchise?”
The storm was also affected by members’ prayers and God’s response. It diverted 370 miles to the south, and the games and fundraiser were not affected by as many rainouts as were forecasted. Yet the forecast appeared to dissuade other concessionaires, except for two stands that sold ice cream, milk and tea. With coordination by Local Elder Reniel Padua and Angeles City deacon Jake Gallardo, supported by Preaching Elder Pedrito Cara and Local Elder Boderick Tongco, the volunteers braving the heat and later the cold wind and rain meant that Homerun Hotdogs was the sole water supplier and main food supplier for all spectators and athletes at the venue.
One of the members working the stand said, “Other concessionaires asked if we were related to one another, because we were always happy and united in our efforts during the games. I told them we were, kind of.”
On the last day of the softball and baseball finals, other volunteers joined the crew, and the bleachers were full of Homerun Hotdogs bright red caps and shirts. The sun and heat caused a clamor for water and other beverages, and the crew faced a challenge to keep everything stocked, with some items selling out completely.
Thinking back over the project, Mr. Padua remarked, “God’s hand was truly behind us all the way.” The group learned much from the experience, and raised much for the coffers of God’s Work, netting $2,690.
The area’s next fundraiser is this weekend: a rummage sale in Manila, staffed by members from the Quezon and Angeles Cities congregations.