The burgers go on the grill on Friday, July 15, and the opportunity to eat and help is golden.
Area 15 Special Olympics is the host and beneficiary of the Special Olympics Hamburger Luncheon beginning at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church of Maryville.
“If you like a good, chargrilled burger, be at First Baptist Church Maryville on Friday,” said Cookie Crowson, who is assistant director for Maryville Alcoa Blount County Parks and Recreation and director of Area 15 Special Olympics.
The annual Area 15 Special Olympics Burger Luncheon is as much a community gathering as an opportunity to get a good burger, said Crowson.
“I think we’re providing a good quality lunch for folks at a very good price,” Crowson said. “We start with a good lean burger. We have some good cooks between the City of Maryville Fire Department, Atmos Energy and Parks and Recreation. They prepare the burgers very well, and we have fresh, homegrown tomatoes from Conning Farms and good, fresh lettuce. The cost is $6, which gets you a burger, chips, a drink and cookies.”
Crowson said folks can eat at the church or get a take-out order. “People can call 865-680-8305 as early as 10 that morning to pre-order take-out. Then they just come by and pick up their orders at whatever time they need them,” she said. Take-out orders can also be done on site for walk-ups.
Crowson said the lunch is a good deal for customers. “It’s a quality meal. We’re always concerned that we give customers something worth the money people are paying, and I feel good about our quality and our price,” she said.
“We have sponsors who support this and offset the expenses. The whole goal is to raise money for Area 15 Special Olympics in Blount County.”
Crowson said Area 15 Special Olympics has been fundraising for many years. “We were doing the bean lunch as far back as 1999. Five years ago we started the burger luncheon,” she said. “Our goal is to raise at least $3,000 for Special Olympics. It goes right back into Special Olympics to provide meals and transportation to state games, equipment and supplies like stop watches or any other costs you can think of that has to do with putting on these events that we do several times throughout the year.”
Crowson said the dollars raised support efforts from spring and summer track and field to winter games like basketball and bowling. “It all takes money. You don’t always have everything supplied by sponsors. You need dollars to make these events happen. We get no financial support through the State of Tennessee or from Special Olympics International. Our participants number more than 300,” she said.
Crowson said that once the school year starts, there are Special Olympics events throughout the year. “The funds we raise at this event plus everything we get from the community allows us to do all those other programs.”