Carnival Buffet helps serve charity

Jesse O. Walls

For people living with intellectual disabilities, it is sometimes hard to fit in or be accepted, but programs such as the Special Olympics help to build confidence and courage through “the power of sport.” Funded mostly through donations, Great Western is doing their part to help raise money for this special charity.

“After meeting some of the kids, I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in,” commented Gary Jones, food service director. “I think what [the Special Olympics] mean to me…is, that it’s helping out the kids.”

On Monday, October 21, Great Western will be hosting its third Annual Special Olympics Carnival Buffet in the cafeteria, where all of the proceeds go to benefit this charity.

“I decided to throw this carnival [buffet] to bring in extra people,” stated Gary Jones. “We charge very little for that and we have special things going on, like the snow-cones, funnel cakes, and a few other things…and all that money goes to Special Olympics.”
Aside from the buffet, Gary Jones will also be holding a raffle for a Coleman 200cc mini bike to help raise money, with tickets available in the cafeteria, as well as at the Rider Grill.

“It’s a very well worthwhile organization,” stated Ron Metz, a business management major who has taken part in the Carnival Buffet for the past two years and will reprise his role as the clown this year as well. “It’s an activity that needs to be done. Those people with the challenges they have, they need to be involved just like everybody else. And it does give them a greater sense of self-worth and self-esteem.”

“It helps our athletes so they can succeed within their school and their work environment and then the communities, and help others to connect with them and include them and understand that they can do anything we can do,” said Stacy Jones, partnership manager for Special Olympics Missouri, in a phone interview.

Having a four star rating on, the Special Olympics Missouri program has more than 16,700 athletes, with varying intellectual disabilities. 87% of proceeds from this charity go directly to the program and to the athletes, according to Stacy Jones.

“We’re so thankful and appreciative of anyone and everyone who gets involved and what they do for us,” added Stacy Jones. “We have a really good track record, [so] I want people to know that when they are donating their money and their time that it goes a long way.”