There are a lot of people out there that would love the chance to drive away with a brand new car—and a sticker price of just $25. Laurie Straw says if Niagarans want to get in the driver’s seat, now’s the time. All they need to do is buy a ticket.
Laurie is the director of care at Hospice Niagara in St. Catharines. For nearly two decades now, her agency has been providing extensive palliative care services to Niagara individuals and their families. We talked with Laurie recently about Hospice Niagara’s latest fundraiser, the 5 Car Draw, and what it means to Niagara as a whole.
SL: Tell me a little bit about the 5 Car Draw and how it got started.
LS: In 2009, we implemented the 5 Car Draw as our annual fundraising signature event. It’s the first multiple car draw lottery for health care in Niagara and has the potential to generate significant dollars for hospice care on an annual basis.
We launched this year’s 5 Car Draw on May 6th at the Hike for Hospice Niagara and it runs until Rotary Ribfest weekend, when we’ll be giving away five brand new cars on Monday, August 6th at 6 p.m. at Montebello Park here in St. Catharines. Tickets are $25 each or five for $100. In addition to the main draw, we’ll be holding an Early Bird draw where five lucky winners will receive $1,000 cash on Saturday, June 16th at 5 p.m. at Hospice Niagara. All of the Early Bird prize winners are also eligible for the main draw.
One of the unique aspects of our lottery is each ticket drawn is put back in the drum and has the opportunity to be drawn again in one of our subsequent draws. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from our 5 Car Draw will support our programs and services.
SL: What’s involved with putting on a fundraiser of this size?
LS: Many, many, many volunteers and community partners! Last year, we had 110 ticket sellers and 117 community booth volunteers who committed over 1,400 hours to this fundraiser. We also had 57 retail locations and 21 sponsors who helped raise awareness and sell tickets. The draw is organized by our community relations team with ongoing support from our 5 Car Draw volunteer committee and our administrative staff.
SL: What kind of response have you had from the community to date?
LS: We’ve had a great response. Right now, we’re ahead of last year’s sales by 43%. We have a great group of volunteers who have signed up to sell tickets to family and friends as well as sit in our community booths. We also have a number of sponsors who are helping promote and create awareness for this fundraiser.
SL: How important are donations to a non-profit organization like Hospice Niagara?
LS: Hospice Niagara relies on community donations for operational support of our programs and services. In fact, $700,000 in funding is needed each year to provide valuable services to those in our community whose time becomes limited. The 5 Car Draw has a huge impact on this amount. In 2011, the draw brought in $191,500 for our programs and services. We’re only able to maintain our level and quality of services because of the generosity of our supporters—through their gifts and through their volunteer activities. Continued financial assistance is vital to our ability to serve the community.
SL: What’s the most exciting part about holding a big fundraiser like 5 Car Draw?
LS: Two things—the significant dollars raised for Hospice Niagara and the smiles on the winners’ faces when they’re awarded their prize. HWS
To find out more about Hospice Niagara’s 5 Car Draw and how you can enter, go to www.hospiceniagara.ca.