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Knights of Columbus host famous game day steak sandwich concession stand

| Monday, September 27, 2021

In 1968, the Notre Dame Knights of Columbus Council #1477 began selling steak sandwiches before home football games, donating all proceeds to charity. The practice quickly became tradition, and in 2017, it raised a record $100,000 through its steak sale outside its current council hall, located on South Quad. It opened the 2021 season by raising $18,000 for the first game alone.

Alysa Guffey | The Observer
Since 1968, the Notre Dame Knights of Columbus make steak sandwiches for Notre Dame football fans on South Quad. All proceeds raised by the sandwich sales are donated to local community charities.

According to Notre Dame senior Noah Bongiovanni, after raising the money, the Knights donate it to local charities.

“Everything, for the most part, stays in South Bend,” Bongiovanni said. “Specific charities include the Women’s Care Center, Corvilla House, Dismas House, Greenbridge Growers, St. Albert School, Our Lady of the Road, Bengal Bouts and several others that we decide on an annual basis.”

Fans wait in long lines for the sandwiches, and though the volunteers working the steak stand are very busy serving customers, they clearly enjoy the tradition. Music plays loudly with volunteers singing along and some making playful costumes, such as wrapping themselves in aluminum foil, to work in.

Bongiovanni emphasized that the tradition has a strong following amongst game day fans.

“If we didn’t do it, the fans would riot,” Bongiovanni said.

Some of the most loyal fans have even made game day T-shirts that say “I’m Here for the Steaks,” referring to the Knights’ Steak Sale.

But during the 2020 football season, the Knights couldn’t do it. The Student Affairs Organization did not allow concession stands to sell prepared food on game days during Notre Dame’s fall 2020 season, eliminating any opportunity for the Knights to raise money with steak sales.

However, Bongiovanni noted the Knights felt compelled to continue its charities to support them during the pandemic.

“We donated nearly 100% of our ND Day earnings over the past 3 years to keep our donations consistent, so our local nonprofits had the resources they needed to stay afloat during a difficult time,” Bongiovanni said.

The Notre Dame Knights, founded in 1910, were the first Knights of Columbus college council in the world. Among its notable works before starting the steak sales was starting a Knights of Columbus scholarship endowment for Notre Dame students in need.

“The Knights and University leadership have worked hand-in-hand over the years to advance Catholic culture at Notre Dame,” their website explains.

The Knights are very excited to be returning to South Quad on game days continuing their traditions, and the celebratory mood of the was contagious on game day.

“Offering our lives in service of others is really what it’s all about, and I’m so blessed that, in such a delicious way, our guys at the Knights can model that,” Bongiovanni said.

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