CLAYTON -- A fun twist on a popular fundraiser promises an evening of camaraderie and competition while raising money to support the town’s community and recreational programs.
The annual Archer Lodge Reverse Raffle will take place on Feb. 22 in the cafeteria of Archer Lodge Middle School, Wendell Road. The event begins at 6 p.m. with a catered meal and the drawings start at 7 p.m.
The event is the brainchild of resident Jenna Payton who started the fundraiser in 2003 as part of her senior project at Clayton High School. That year, she sold 200 tickets and after expenses donated nearly $9,000 to the town’s community center and programs.
“I grew up with my family being involved in the Archer Lodge Community Center,” explained Payton. “The project dealt with the benefits of growing up in a small town community. My purpose was to raise money for the community center and its park.”
Payton now serves as vice president of the center and is pleased to see the event she introduced to town become a yearly community affair.
“It means a lot to see everyone come out and support this,” she said. “People understand that if they don’t win, their money is going to a good cause.”
The objective of a reverse raffle is not to be the first name drawn but the last. Payton said the competition gets tense as the evening goes on with bystanders crossing off names on a list after each ticket is eliminated. Some don’t have to wait that long. Prizes of $100 cash will be awarded for every 25th ticket selected.
When the final ten remain, ticketholders must decide if they would like to split the grand prize of $10,000 or have a go for it all. They need not be present, but Payton said that’s when the competition really heats up. In the last decade she can only recall two instances of the final pot being awarded to one winner.
“It’s interesting to watch and see how it unfolds,” she said.
The Archer Lodge Community Center will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in the fall. Located on Buffalo Road, it offers the surrounding community recreational children’s programs, including soccer and baseball, a playground, walking track, picnic shelter and meeting space. They sponsor yearly events including a community auction, July 4th Family Fun Day and Christmas Celebration and Parade.
Tickets for the Reverse Raffle are $100 and included two meals. For information, contact the Archer Lodge Community Center at 919-550-1738.