Winning name drawn in Arnette House fundraiser

Red, White & $10,000 Cash Giveaway proceeds will support children and families.

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Posted May 31, 2022 | By Susan Smiley-Height

Like many social service agencies, the Arnette House, Inc., has had to adapt in many areas since the advent of the pandemic. That includes getting creative with fundraising endeavors.

This year, rather than host its traditional public auction event, the agency came up with the Red, White & $10,000 Cash Giveaway. Three-hundred tickets were available for purchase, at $100 each, with proceeds targeted to help youth and families in the community.

Arnette House, Inc., provides an emergency youth shelter, family counseling services and foster care group homes in Marion, Lake, Sumter, Citrus and Hernando counties.

The winning ticket was drawn live on Facebook at noon on Tuesday, May 31, during a ceremony at the Ocala/Marion County Veterans Memorial Park.

Following an a cappella rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Randy Zoller, brief remarks were given by Arnette House CEO Cheri Pettitt and Jeffery Askew, director of veterans’ services for Marion County. Beverly Lafferty, director of volunteer and veteran support with Hospice of Marion County, was given the honor of drawing the winner.

The winning ticket holder was Jim Rogers. Rogers, a diesel mechanic in Ocala, said he bought three tickets and a colleague bought two to support a “good cause.”

“My sister Kelly is on the board and she texted me the event flier,” he said.

Kelly Scott is the president of the Arnette House board of directors.

Rogers said he had forgotten about the drawing taking place on Tuesday and was surprised when he got a call that he had won. When asked what he plans to do with his winnings, he said, “Just sit on it and not go crazy.”

Pettitt said they came very close to selling all 300 tickets and that people were still participating early Tuesday.

“It’s exciting,” she said to the sounds of balloons popping in celebration of the announcement. “We think we sold about 285. We didn’t actually count them at the last minute because people were buying them this morning.”

“Like everyone else right now, we’re hurting for funding,” Pettitt added. “We have a big grant that we’re writing for this year, that we have to write for every three years, and we’re not even sure Florida has the money for it right now. So, any amount of money helps us with our operations and with taking care of the kids. We have to clothe them and feed them, and our food costs are up tremendously. Just for the first two quarters, we’re up like $5,000-something over our typical budget. There’s a variety of things that we’re looking at financially that we need to be very careful with in the next year.”

She said the community embraced the fundraiser and they will consider doing it again in the future.

“It’s been really exciting, and people liked it,” she said. “This community has been very good to us.”

To learn more about the organization and the services it provides, visit arnettehouse.org or call (352) 622-6135.