LUBBOCK, Texas- More non-profit organizations returned to the South Plains Fair this year in hopes to fundraise money for their efforts.
According to the South Plains Fair, last year it had 23 non-profit vendors and this year that number has gone up to 35.
Joe Freeman and Janet Roller said their organization, Red Bud Lions, has been participating in the South Plains Fair for years. Freeman and Roller said because of the age of their members, they chose not to participate last year.
“We work out here anywhere from 12-15 hours a day for 10 days,” said Freeman. “This year because of the age of our members we have cut way back so we are doing half of that.”
Freeman said they fundraise money each year to help organizations like the Girl’s and Boy’s Ranch and the Great Plains Lions Eye.
“All the money that we raise here has to go back to the community,” said Freeman. “[People who buy here are] investing in the community.”
Lonnie Kirk, deacon at New Testament Baptist Church, said their church has been participating for the past 20 years but also opted not to go back last year.
“We have a perishable product and there was such uncertainty with the fair going on last year and we didn’t know if they might possibly cancel it,” said Kirk. “It was difficult because this is a fundraiser for our youth camp .. mainly to send them to church camp.”
Orlando Tijerina, founder of New Creations Prison Ministry, said he waited five years to get a booth at the fair and was grateful that the fair gave him an opportunity to sit out last year.
“A bunch of us decided to opt out saying, ‘You know, I don’t think it’s going to be worth it, for us to spend all that money and pray every day we make it back,'” said Tijerina. “But this year, I felt the Lord saying, ‘It’s time to go back.'”
Tijerina said he uses his ministry to help incarcerated men gain new perspective in life.
“Our mission to go to the prisons is to teach these men to be, not men but teach them to be Godly men,” said Tijerina. “We teach them to have Godly morals, principals and just to be those men of God he created them to be.”
Tijerina said he encourages people to get out with their family and support community efforts at the fair.
“Help support the ministries that are out here,” said Tijerina. “… we need your support.”