Cole and Heidi Hamels donate Table Rock Lake home to Camp Barnabas

Published: Dec. 15, 2017 at 11:47 AM CST
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The Christmas season just got a whole lot sweeter for an Ozarks charity for kids.

Camp Barnabas announced Friday Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife Heidi are gifting their 32,000 square foot home, including more than 100 acres, on Table Rock Lake.

“There are tons of amazing charities in Southwest Missouri," said Cole Hamels. "Out of all of these, Barnabas really pulled on our heartstrings. Seeing the faces, hearing the laughter, reading the stories of the kids they serve; there is truly nothing like it. Barnabas makes dreams come true, and we felt called to help them in a big way.”

Based in Southwest Missouri, Camp Barnabas is a non-profit charitable organization including two locations dedicated to providing life-changing experiences to individuals with special needs and chronic illnesses as well as their siblings. This gift marks the largest donation in the history of Barnabas.

“This is so much more than a beautiful property.” says Krystal Simon, Chief Development Officer. “This incredible gift allows us to further our ministry and truly change thousands of lives for years to come.”

Over the past 24 years, Camp Barnabas has welcomed more than 75,000 campers and missionaries to camp. Barnabas also includes Barnabas Prep, a two-year faith-based collegiate program based in Branson, designed specifically for students with special needs. More than an independent living learning experience, Prep helps individuals recognize their strengths and potential while challenging them to grow into their best selves.

“We love that Barnabas sees the bigger picture,” says Cole and Heidi Hamels. “They are changing the way the world sees disability ministry.”

Barnabas exists to offer life-changing opportunities to all individuals, regardless of their disability or diagnosis, and to the people who serve them by providing social experiences that increase spiritual knowledge, social learning and human dignity.

“Our mission is to change lives through disability ministry, and we’ve been strategically looking for ways to expand our ministry outside of a summer camp,” says Jason Brawner, CEO. “We have no doubt that this gift will allow us to do just that.”