The Bowman Lions Club held a Soup and Sandwich benefit for a local child on Super Bowl Sunday and the response was not surprising to Father Paul Eberle.

“I have never seen a community like this come together for our own from the mayor on down,” he said Sunday afternoon as the cleanup started in the United Methodist Church. “It is a whole different world here,” he said, noting that the response has been like no other community he has worked in.

The benefit Sunday was to raise money for Olivia Frie’s medical expenses. She is the four-year old daughter of Todd and Kristina Frie.

According to the Lions chair for the event, Chuck Whitney, about 300 people participated in the Super Bowl Soup and Sandwich event and a silent auction – or both.

The variety of items up for auction ranged from luggage to jams, jellies and gift baskets.

According to Whitney, the benefit raised thousands to help defray the medical expenses of the Frie family.

There were also about 50 volunteers who helped to organize and put on the benefit, Whitney added.

On the menu at the event were a variety of soups and chili, along with turkey and ham sandwiches.

The Lion also had a full dessert tray set up for the attendees, which included cranberry bars and other baked snacks.

Long Lions tradition

According to Whitney, the benefit was just another example how people in the community care about each other. “ The Super Bowl Soup and Sandwich Benefit of the Bowman Lions Club continues an over 20-year tradition to help members of our Community. There are several “key” Lions who jointly can take credit for beginning the tradition, and certainly among those would be our Charter President Roger Walter, our long time Gaming Treasurer Don Groll and our current Tail Twister Tom Nordberg. The original idea was to provide a service to the sports fan getting ready to watch the big game, but it quickly became one of our club’s premier fund raisers. Usually, the recipient of the proceeds had medical needs, but there have been few times when there have been overwhelming non medical expenses as well.”

To Whitney, it was an easy decision for the Lions Club to hold the benefit. “Young Olivia, nearly 4, has had, so far, unexplained seizures, causing not only a great deal of concern but also expense. She had the pleasure of seeing Mini Mouse earlier this summer and at once decided that not only was Mini her favorite, but the pink dress was really kind of special too, making the “theme” of this year’s event and its color selection a no-brainer,” he said.

It took a big effort to pull of the benefit, but Whitney said he had a lot of help.

“Some 19 Lions donated collectively 129 hours to set up, prepare the food, serve it and clean up afterwards. Simultaneously, a Silent Auction was held and between the Free Will Offering and the Auction a goodly amount of money was raised.

“We had some amazing help from unexpected quarters, as the Methodist Ladies did the initial dining area set up, provided bars and helped serve them. The Rhame CCD youth led by Maretta Hendrickson were tremendous help keeping the water, lemonade and coffee pitchers/pots full. These kids also helped with cleaning tables after our patrons were finished.

“The Sandwich Crew led by Lion Tom Nordberg began their day well before 9:00 am and the rest of the club sprinkled in between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. when the actual benefit began. Our members brought the multiple soups needed to hit the spot and the club supplied ice cream and toppings. As a testimonial to how many people this young family has touched since coming to Bowman, we had a continuous flow of people from before 11 a.m. until well after 12:30 p.m.

“The generosity of our Community certainly comes to the fore as the line of people waiting to be served made an exact head count challenging,” he said, adding that he estimated more than 300 people served and visited during the benefit.

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