EUGENE, Ore. -- Winners were announced Thursday for the 30th annual Great Rotary Duck Race, which is a fundraiser to help keep children in Lane County safe.
At any given point in time in Lane County, over 1,000 children are in foster care. Of that number, only about 100 of them are in the process of reuniting with their families.
The Great Rotary Duck Race works to fund organizations that work with families to prevent abuse and neglect.
Supporters have purchased more than $7 million in tickets, and the funds will be distributed to Lane County nonprofit organizations: Bridgeway House, the Family Relief Nursery, Parenting Now, Center for Community Counseling and Direction Service.
The top three Great Rotary Duck Race prize winners were:
- 2018 Hyundai Sonata Winner: Silva Chambers (Ticket #149496)
- 30th Anniversary Beaudet Jewelry Bracelet Winner: Sharon Catlin (Ticket #172471)
- $5,000 Jerry's Shopping Spree Winner: John G. Shedd Institute (Ticket #110877)
The other eight top prize winners were:
- $2,000 Fred Meyer Gift Card Winner: Julie Fasewich (Ticket #168680)
- $1,200 Brenner's Furniture Gift Card Winner: Dale Hartley (Ticket #139074)
- $1,000 Bi-Mart Gift Card Winner: Wally Graff (Ticket# 105035)
- $1,000 Kelly's Appliance Center Gift Card Winner: Kelly Ochoco (Ticket #140957)
- $1,000 5th Street Market/Inn Gift Card Winner: Casey McCormick (Ticket #163834)
- $1,000 Oakway Center Gift Card Winner: Vic Hariton (Ticket #116195)
- $1,000 Visa Gift Card Winner: Glen Syrow (Ticket #162335)
- $1,000 Les Schwab Gift Card Winner: Mike Murphy (Ticket #152615)
Parenting Now is one of this year's agencies chosen to receive part of the funds raised.
“What we're really doing is building strengths for families so they can take their parenting skills to the next level and make really happy, functional, thriving homes and children,” said Lynne Swartz, the executive director of Parenting Now.
Swartz said their mission is to make sure that all children are raised by nurturing, skilled parents.
Organizers of the race said that Kids First encountered more than 800 abused children in 2017, both in and out of the system. Places like the Bridgeway House work with children that they say are the most susceptible to this kind of abuse -- children with autism and related disorders.
“They are the most at-risk population for any kind of abuse, bullying, or neglect because a lot of our children can't speak for themselves or communicate their needs or wants,” said Patricia Wigney, the executive director of the Bridgeway House.
Wigney said as a selected agency this year, they can't wait to use all the money they receive to provide more support to these children and their families because they know these situations can be overwhelming, especially without the right tools.
One other benefiting agency will be using the money to do something big. The Family Relief Nursery will be using it to establish respite care in their Creswell location.
“Respite care is so vitally important to these families,” said Diane Hazen, the executive director of the Family Relief Nursery. “It not only can be an opportunity for a desperately needed break, but it gives them the time they need to keep very important appointments."
The Direction Service, a multi-program family support nonprofit located in Springfield, serves all of Lane County. Their website says their goal is "to provide a place where people with disabilities and special needs would be treated with respect, dignity, and compassionate care, regardless of situation."
The Center for Community Counseling provides counseling services to those who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
Even though the duck race element was back in the event this year, it was a digital duck race instead of a live one.
In 2017, the Great Rotary Raffle awarded $200,000 in grant money to five agencies.
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