St. Paul Lutheran Church
Notre Dame is well known for its many longstanding traditions. The list is extensive and includes traditions of all kinds. Notre Dame is also well known for its commitment to the community and its constant effort to give back. One of the best example of a longstanding tradition rooted in Notre Dame’s desire to give back to the South Bend community is the Nonprofit Organization management of concession stands at Notre Dame Football games.
There are 53 NPOs that run concession stands at Football games, some of which also operate stands at other Notre Dame sporting events such as Basketball and Hockey. Combined, these 53 groups have 210 years of experience managing concession stands at ND. St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church claims 15 of the 210 combined years, as they began managing a stand in 1998. Celebrating its 135th anniversary this year, it seemed like a perfect time to highlight this giving group who is an important part of Game Days at Notre Dame.
St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church looks to spread the Gospel by “reaching out to those in need and trying to meet those needs in a very real and personal way,” explains Eileen Hayen, Team Leader from St. Paul. Operating concession stands at Notre Dame, the largest of their fundraisers, allows the group at St. Paul to support activities designed to help people in need. The activities they support include the Food Bank, Healthy Families, the Hope Rescue Mission in Downtown South Bend and Hope Ministries, Bibles for the Military, both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, a number of youth group activities, local school activities, and internal church initiatives.
Volunteering at Notre Dame has provided the group from St. Paul with the opportunity to have different people work together in a fun environment. “The excitement and challenges of the different sporting events brings us in close contact with not only the local community but also all the visitors that come to each home game,” says Hayen. In their 15 years operating a concession stand, the folks from St. Paul have developed a good number of “repeat customers” who they look forward to seeing on game days. “Each time we thank them for coming to Notre Dame and our stand, they respond with ‘see you next game!’”
For St. Paul Lutheran Church, operating a concession stand at Notre Dame Stadium brings an opportunity to both raise funds and have fun. “We appreciate Notre Dame giving non-profit groups the opportunity to be part of the Notre Dame Experience, thereby allowing all of us to earn critical funds to accomplish our specific goals,” says Hayen. The appreciation is mutual, as Notre Dame is grateful for all St. Paul does to help make the Game Day experience memorable for fans and keeping them coming back again and again.