‘Tis the season of giving. While it’s the thought, not the size, of the gift that matters most, we can’t help but notice those truly over-the-top holiday gestures.
Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife Heidi just donated their $9.4 million mansion (its listed value according to Realtor.com as of the time it was donated) and surrounding 104-acre property on Table Rock Lake in Missouri to Camp Barnabas, a Missouri-based nonprofit that provides “life-changing experiences to individuals with special needs and chronic illnesses.”
After the Philadelphia Phillies traded Hamels to the Texas Rangers in 2015, he and his family relocated to Dallas. They never moved into what they’d hoped would be their dream home in Missouri. But they found a way to leave a lasting impression.
“A piece of us will always be in the area, but with a new legacy and vision,” Hamels said in a statement.
This is the largest charitable gift to Camp Barnabas in the 24-year history of the organization. According to a press release from Camp Barnabas, the home’s interior is unfinished, but it features a whopping 10 bedrooms, 18 bathrooms and four living rooms. It is a cavernous 32,000 square feet. Outside, it has a playground, barn and pool, though it’s unclear if the barn and pool were ever finished.
If the camp’s able to finish the home and property, it sounds like the perfect location for a small camp. However, Camp Barnabas CEO Jason Brawner said it won’t become a summer camp. Plans for the property are still up in the air.
“There are tons of amazing charities in Southwest Missouri. Out of all of these, Barnabas really pulled on our heartstrings,” Hamels said in his statement.
“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.”
Hamels isn’t the only athlete giving back to children with special needs this holiday season. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees recently built a playground in New Orleans for children with mobility and sensory challenges.
These generous gifts certainly show the true spirit of Christmas.