By Helena Hunt, Staff Writer
Nearly half of the concessions stands at McLane Stadium, the Ferrell Center, and other Baylor sports venues will be manned by 15 nonprofit organizations this coming semester. In return for their work selling food and drinks to hungry fans, volunteers will receive 10-12 percent of the proceeds for their groups.
Joe Pulido, director of food and beverage for Baylor’s food vendor, SAVOR, said bringing in nonprofit organizations is a part of McLane Stadium and the Baylor community’s mission to give back to Waco.
“It is key and core to giving back to the community,” Pulido said. “There is such a wealth of opportunity in Waco for charitable organizations. This allows us to help those folks out.”
Although the program began slowly according to Pulido, SAVOR now dedicates half of its 220 McLane cash registers to nonprofit organizations. Pulido anticipates that a group could earn up to $20,000 by participating in the program.
To be a strong candidate for the program an organization must be locally-based and not-for-profit. Baylor groups are also invited to apply. The three campus groups already benefiting from the program are the Baylor University Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), the Baylor University chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and the Latin Dance Society.
“SAVOR was an opportunity for us to gain additional funds and help serve the Baylor community,” said Nicholas Flye, the Latin Dance Society’s historian.
The organization uses the funds from the program to finance the Baylor Salsa Invasion, an event which invites local dancers to teach students and members of the community.
Off-campus organizations participating this year include the Girl Scout Council, New Hope Baptist Church and the Waco National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Cynthia Cunningham, the executive direct of NAMI Waco, says the funds received through the program will help her organization continue to provide free mental health education to the Waco community.
The program also provides groups like NAMI Waco with an advertising opportunity.
“This will help give us more exposure too, as more people will see our organization at the concession stands,” Cunningham said.
Although the program is new to Waco, Pulido says that it is common in large stadiums in Austin and Dallas. At larger venues, an even higher percentage of concession stands is allocated to nonprofit organizations. Pulido is optimistic that the fundraising initiative will attract additional organizations to McLane as well.
“It won’t be 100 percent, but I know we’re going to get a lot closer to that,” Pulido said.