JANUARY 18, 2021
St. Thomas, Ontario
ST. THOMAS LOCAL WINS OVER $53,000 IN BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS 50/50 RAFFLE
FRIDAY started out like any other day for one local woman until she got a phone call that changed her life. She learned she had just won $53,785 in a provincial 50/50 raffle lottery benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in Ontario.
Colleen Spenard of St. Thomas, Ontario, was congratulated by over a dozen Big Brothers Big Sisters executive directors and staff who all tuned in to a video conference call to watch the winning ticket be drawn electronically and offer their congratulations “in-person.”
The Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies throughout Ontario have been hit hard by the pandemic with an increase in demand for services and decrease in community fundraising events. Mental health challenges among youth have grown as much as 300% since the pandemic. Mentoring provides an outlet for these young people “Littles” to spend some time with an adult “Big” who can be a much-needed lifeline of support. They champion staying in school, making healthy choices and building solid relationships with friends and family and, perhaps, most of all, give them an outlet to laugh and have fun.
A collaborative of agencies has banded together and developed a 50/50 raffle lottery to engage communities and create new revenue streams. Proceeds from the raffles go to supporting the agencies as they cope with the growing number of youth in Ontario faced with adverse situations at home and uncertainty.
“We thought we would launch this raffle initiative and see what happened, maybe sell a few tickets”, says Mike Hurry, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Sarnia-Lambton, “we’ve completed 3 raffles and are so pleased by the growing popularity of the initiative. There are a lot of folks out there who love to play raffles! We have had winners from Lindsay, Ottawa, Bowmanville, Kitchener and now St. Thomas.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters Ontario hopes to continue their lottery initiative throughout 2021 and are planning the next raffle for sometime in February.
“It’s a great way to bring a little excitement into your world when you’re stuck at home everyday” says Yolanda Ritsema, Executive Director of Kincardine. “It’s nice to be able to put a smile on someone’s face, especially during these times of uncertainty and it helps our agencies so much.” Tickets are $10 for 10, $20 for 40 and $40 for 60. “It’s a pretty easy and inexpensive way to position yourself to win a lot of money.” The draws take place usually every 4-6 weeks with Early Bird prizes thrown in the middle for extra excitement and incentive. “Some of our winners have purchased $40 in tickets at 4p and walked away with $500 cash at 9p. Not a bad day”, says Hurry. The BiggerTogether 50/50 can be found at