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Oshkosh Residents Get Involved at AirVenture

Local nonprofits team up with EAA to raise funds for community

July 28, 2018 - A number of nonprofits in the Oshkosh community have a presence at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 to raise funds and awareness for their causes.

The Sacred Heart brat stand has been an annual staple of the EAA convention for nearly 40 years. It first came to the event to raise funds for school uniforms, but over the years the brat stand evolved into a general fundraiser to support the church.

“For a lot of people this is a big tradition, and they count on it being here,” said Barney Schmitz, who is one of the Sacred Heart brat stand’s five co-chairs.

Barney said 95-100 volunteers fill 182 shifts, and 28 students cover 64 shifts over the course of the week. In addition to serving brats and sandwiches during the day, Sacred Heart serves an affordable pancake breakfast, too.

Goodwill teamed with EAA this year to allow AirVenture campers to donate leftover campsite equipment, bicycles, and other supplies at six blue donation bins around the grounds.

“Putting these materials back into circulation where others may use them reduces waste and provides an additional resource for Goodwill to support our programs throughout our area that elevate people and transform our area,” said Dan Flannery, vice president of community relations for Goodwill North Central Wisconsin.

Oshkosh’s local YMCA has operated a water stand for several years across from the IAC headquarters near Boeing Plaza, keeping AirVenture attendees hydrated.

“All of this goes back to our Y for our annual campaign, which helps with funds for people who cannot afford a membership or need help with childcare, or children that want to go to camp,” said Kim Stelzer, childcare director at the downtown YMCA location. “The money all goes toward that to help our community.”

Kim said EAA’s annual convention also provides an outlet for Oshkosh community members to put on display their welcoming and supportive community.

“I think AirVenture is a big thing once a year, and the community coming out here to support and be a part of that and to show off what Oshkosh is really about, I think brings people back, because they see the community coming together,” Kim said.

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