Area church offers traveling college students hotdogs, ‘lots of hugs’
Members of The First United Methodist Church of Hamilton have set up shop under a blue tent on a corner of the courthouse lawn where they’re offering free hotdogs to college students passing through on their way home for the holidays.
“We have hotdogs. We have cold drinks or water,” the church’s chairperson of the council, Rodney Craddick said.
“We give lots of hugs and wish them safe travels.”
The idea for the rest stop came as the church was brainstorming ideas to serve the community and spread their love of the Lord.
“We have been trying to think of ways to further our mission and to serve the Lord and this was just one of the ideas that we came up with,” Craddick said.
The makeshift rest stop opened Wednesday morning at the intersection of Highway 36 and Highway 281 in downtown Hamilton with a tent, coolers and large sign that reads “Free Hot Dogs for College Kids.”
Just one traveler stopped for a bite Wednesday morning, but by afternoon world had spread and college students began to arrive.
One was a Tarleton State University senior who was headed home to Comanche County.
She stopped for a bite and to celebrate completing her finals.
“The young lady from Gustine told us that she had just finished her finals,” Craddick said.
“She was a senior and on the way home and she was just so happy to have a place to stop and get a few hotdog and take a break. We gave her a lot of hugs and wished her safe travels.”
Another female student was making her way home to San Antonio when she came spotted the rest stop, and she wasn’t the only one in her car to enjoy it.
“The next lady who stopped was from around San Antonio and she had her dog in the car with her. She got out and took the dog on a walk,” Craddick said.
“The dog ate a hotdog. She ate a hotdog and we shared some stories and just had a good time with her. She was a wonderful young lady and thought it was a great idea.”
Craddick said the volunteers are hoping to share their faith by their actions, but they’re also sending with the youngsters a reminder or two about what motivates them to give.
“We are giving everyone who stops and comes by a peppermint stick that has a Bible verse in it and we also are giving salt water taffy that has a bible verse on them donated by a local business called The Dutchman’s Hidden Valley in Hamilton.”
“We’re just trying to be there and let these college kids know that we care about them and love them.”
The volunteers began serving the hotdogs at around 11 a.m. Thursday and the rest stop will remain open until around 5 p.m.
“We’re just trying to make everyone’s day a little bit better in God’s name,” Craddick said.