For over 20 years, Notre Dame Food Services has hosted a golf outing with their vendors to say thank you for their support of our student dining programs throughout the year. During the initial planning for this year’s event, we challenged ourselves to add another component – to make it a charity fundraiser. Chris Abayasinghe, NDFS Director, shared with the golf committee members, “It’s great that we gather with our suppliers each year, but it would take it to a whole new level to collaborate with our vendors to give something back.” The challenge was accepted, and the date was set for June 11 at Warren Golf Course.
The selected charity was The Wounded Warrior Project which serves injured service members and their families. This important organization works to nurture their minds and bodies through a variety of programs aimed at helping them become successful and well-adjusted.
In addition to raising funds, the committee wanted to find other ways to enhance the outing. More than 9 wounded warriors played golf that day, coming from Lafayette and Fort Wayne, as well as the South Bend region. Local veterans also participated, and campus ROTC programs were represented. NDFS veterans and their families joined the group for dinner. Mike Evans, an NDFS cook and army veteran donated his time to create an ice carving of the Wounded Warrior logo. A keynote speech was given by one of the warriors who shared his post-service experience, and the impact the Wounded Warrior Project had on him and his family.
From the beginning, all of our vendors were extremely enthusiastic about this idea, and definitely stepped forward to support the cause with outright financial donations, event sponsorships and in-kind contributions. More than 140 golfers and an additional 40 people came for dinner. Through the dedication of the golf committee and the generosity of our suppliers, we presented a donation check at dinner for $25,000. One of our vendors said in an email the next day, “I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful time yesterday. As always your team put on a 1st class event, and the tie in with the Wounded Warriors was terrific.”
Great traditions continue to evolve and did so with NDFS supporting a wonderful charitable cause!