Hog roast raises money for Special Olympics

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--  Saturday the St. Joseph County Special Olympics held their sixth annual hog roast at the South Bend Fraternal Order of Police Lodge. It's all part of their initiative to raise money for their tournaments and travel fees.

There are around 350 Special Olympics athletes with special needs or disabilities in St. Joseph County.


“We are trying to just prove to everybody that people with special needs are just like everybody else, so we welcome everybody,” St. Joseph County Special Olympics Coordinator David Graf said.


Rhonda Clifton has been one of those athletes for more than 30 years.

“When I was in high school, I wanted to play sports but they wouldn’t let me because I had a disability,” Clifton said.


Saturday's hog roast is a way for Clifton and other athletes to raise money for Special Olympics games and tournaments--their way to show the world they are no different than anyone else.


“Now I can play and you don’t get booted off the team if you’re not good enough like the other kids,” Clifton said.


The athletes enjoy the sense of community the games create.


“The reason why I joined the sports is because I like it a lot and I make a lot of new friends and meet a whole lot of new people,” Special Olympics athlete Dawn Moore said.


There's a little bit of give and take.

“A lot of our athletes are actually here working as volunteers too so it kind of goes both ways. They get, and then they also have to give,” Graf said.


The St. Joseph County Special Olympics program boasts more than 100 volunteers and offers 13 different sports, including basketball, volleyball and bowling.

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