Organizers Raise $14,000 at Free Lunch for Special Olympics

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- People got the chance to enjoy a free lunch and help support our local Special Olympics athletes.

A fundraiser was held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Texas Roadhouse in Eau Claire. Law enforcement officers and Special Olympics athletes were serving meals and accepting tips all day.

All the proceeds went to Special Olympics and they were able to raise $14,000, which was a nice boost over last year when they raised $10,000.

"The amount of support from the community that we get from this event is just outstanding. So, this year we already have at least a thousand meals going out the door and we never really know how many people are going to come to the restaurant. We're usually packed," said Karen Krause, Special Olympics Coordinator.

The menu included pulled pork sandwiches, french fries, applesauce and a drink.

Eau Claire, WI (WEAU) - Are you a fan of free lunch? Today, local law enforcement officers are teaming up with Special Olympics to offer free lunch at Texas Roadhouse.

"We started the event 3 years ago,” says Karen Kraus with Special Olympics Wisconsin.

F-r-e-e spells free and that's just what people can expect at Texas Roadhouse in Eau Claire to help Special Olympics Wisconsin!

"Special Olympics is very fortunate to have great name recognition. We've been around a long time and people know what our mission is. People know Special Olympics and it’s close to their heart and they know the money stays locally,” says Kraus.

It's an event that brings the community together to meet the athletes and police officers.

"Officers across the state and nationally are tied in with Special Olympics and so be able to get out and do an event like the Texas Roadhouse event its fun for us to interact with the Special Olympic athletes but also with the community members that come in and provide donations to support that cause."

Kraus says, "Every event we do we have the athletes there, because that's who people are raising money for. I think it’s awesome for our athletes to thank them directly for their donations."

But if you can't make it to Texas roadhouse between 11:00A.M. -2:00 P.M. , a delivery service will drop off your free lunch!

“Not everyone can leave their desk and go to the restaurant, so that has been an amazing service and we find that people are more generous with the donations when we deliver because we bring it right to their door or right to their desk,” explains Kraus.

"Many of these officers come in and volunteer their time and their days off away from their own families and things to be part of the community,” says Eau Claire Community Relations Officer, Kyle Roder.

Last year, this event raised $10,000 in 3 hours thanks to the time put in for Special Olympics and local police officers.

"We typically see the Eau Claire Police Department, the Eau Claire County Sheriff's Department, UW-Police Departments from both Eau Claire and UW-Stout. Menomonie police department has been involved in the past,” says Roder.

Kraus says, “It's free, it's completely free. We leave it up to the participants to make a donation and tip the officer that serves them.

The menu includes Pulled Pork Sandwiches, applesauce, fries, and a soda if you come into the restaurant. The event, again, goes from 11:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. at Texas Roadhouse 5019 Keystone Crossing in Eau Claire.