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Salmon Frenzy mission delivers refreshments in good faith

Providing comfort on the beach

Posted: July 20, 2013 - 8:38pm  |  Updated: July 22, 2013 - 10:08am
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Children play in a "bouncy house" under the eye of a volunteer working with Salmon Frenzy, a church mission organized by Alaska Missions and Retreats. The house was set up on the north beach near the mission's hotdog stand.  Greg Skinner
Greg Skinner
Children play in a "bouncy house" under the eye of a volunteer working with Salmon Frenzy, a church mission organized by Alaska Missions and Retreats. The house was set up on the north beach near the mission's hotdog stand.

One way to quantify the hoards of dipnetters working the beach is the number of hotdogs given out by a group of volunteers working the local salmon mission.

“We’re way over this year,” said Brenda Crim, creator and organizer of Salmon Frenzy, a dipnett beach mission run through Alaska Missions and Retreats.

Saturday, Crim, of Anchorage, said her group is on track to hand out 22,000 hotdogs by the close of this week when the last group of mission volunteers cycles through and the numbers of returning reds dwindle.

Last year, volunteers handed out 17,000 hotdogs during the three-week mission.

Within the 2013 run, salmon have far outpaced the numbers of fisherman and hotdogs, combined. More than 500,000 sockeye were counted as heading up stream on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

With five pallets of bottled water and hundreds of gallons of lemonade already dispersed to the masses, along with nearly a ton of hotdogs, Crim said she and her volunteers are simply providing comforts to people in an environment that can get pretty chaotic as the thousands of people focus getting their share of passing fish.

Most of the mission’s energy is given over to care for others through authentic faith, Christian hospitality and brotherly love, according to Crim, who said there is little focus on overt evangelizing in favor of “inadvertent evangelizing.” It happens when fisherman take a break for the hotdog and a drink and just get to talking about the dealings of life, she said.

“People give the opportunity to discuss the Lord,” Crim said. “We want to help the people on the beach.”

This year’s the mission may have a bigger task than previously, in terms of numbers of folks gathered on the beach, but the goal for the scores that come in service is simple; try to change the hectic climate into one that is as family friendly as possible during the peak of the Kenai River sockeye fishery.

To do that Crim and her crew have developed children’s activities, such as face painting, balloon animals, bounce houses. They also help with first aid, traffic control and trash pick-up. During cold years, there is even a warming tent operation the mission can put into operation.

“Thousands of Alaskans are dip-netting sockeye salmon as an annual family event,” Crim said. “Our ministry approach is servanthood and need-meeting.”

Throughout they also share “Christ in personal, relational ways.”

To staff the service of those needs, she’s built a sable of 450 volunteers, which are positioned at beach locations on both banks of the river mouth during the peak of the run.

“It’s a big block party,” Crim said. “I’ve bouncy houses going at three locations.”

Crim said it’s the children that initially drew her into creating the Salmon Frenzy mission. During a dipnetting trip of her own eight years ago, Crim said she noticed a need for safe child friendly care.

Mostly, Crim said, the goal is to provide a safe place for kids, something all Alaskans want. So, along with food comforts, the group is also caring for the children of dipnetters. In one example, Crim said a 9-year-old made a wrong turn on the south beach Friday evening and was nearly a mile down the wrong way when volunteers rallied for a search. Finding lost children happens every year the chaos that ensues during the run, she said.

“We dropped everything to find that little boy,” Crim said.


Reach Greg Skinner at

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borninak 07/23/13 - 09:12 am
Has To Be A Better Place For Charity

With all the homeless people, inner city poor people, welfare people, etc., we are now handing out hot dogs to dipnetters? Seriously? I think I'm going to get sick. No one is forcing these folks to the beach for their salmon and voluntary camping trip. They have the means to drive down here in their RV, pay for the gas, usually have 4 wheelers in tow, and seem to be be quite happy in their endevour. How about we find some REAL needy people to focus our effort on as free hot dogs for dipnetters is the biggest joke around this town in years.

corinnep 07/23/13 - 12:54 pm
Is this some kind of tax

Is this some kind of tax scam? Free hot dogs and child care for dipnetters is not charity.

Tantar 07/23/13 - 03:49 pm
These people have food. Why give them free hot dogs?

Classic Christian good faith right here. Giving hot dogs to the un needy instead of people who would actually benefit. Everyday kids in this community go without food and water and these people gave it away to people who already had plenty of that! How is this good faith? Take your own stand on things peninsula clarion!

Suss 07/23/13 - 04:10 pm
lighten up

Nice people doing nice deeds does not warrant scorn and suspicion. Thank them for being a blessing rather than cursing the good deed that goes unpunished.

Seafarer 07/23/13 - 05:00 pm
Salmon is Free Food!!!

While I understand the childcare, a good thing, I don't get handing out free food and water for people who are getting free food anyway! How about free food for residents?

hipboothottie 07/23/13 - 05:43 pm
This appears to be a mission

This appears to be a mission to spread christianity, not feed the poor. Those who give are free to choose their receivers, and I thank the Lord and our military for that freedom! Dipnetting is not free! The expenses associated with a local fishing license in our state and a weekend camping trip to our peninsula are outrageous. The salmon comes at a price even if not "purchased. To Seafarer...all of the people dipnetting, and therefore receiving hotdogs ARE RESIDENTS :) Isn't it important for us to do at least a wee bit of homework before throwing opinions around?

Allen 07/24/13 - 05:48 pm
Volunteer Vacations

After reading these comments I looked up Alaska Missions and Retreats. It is a corporation founded and run by Brenda Crim, that offers volunteer vacations to events in Alaska, such as the Iditarod, Kodiak Crab Fest, Iron Dog race, and the Kenai dip net fishery (AMR markets this event as "Salmon Frenzy"). For the dip net fishery, volunteers pay ARM $550 plus pay for their own air fare, for a week where they get a tour around Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula, then they volunteer at ARM's beach tent handing out hot dogs and so forth. The volunteers apparently stay for free at local homes through local churches. The main goal appears to be to try to gain converts to ARM's form of Christianity.

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