Reporter Jackie Majerus wrote this story:
A plan to raffle off a car – and have ticket proceeds power the Bristol Fuel Bank – is stalled.
Thomas Morrow, director of the Bristol Community Organization, said they still need to sell 700 more tickets just to break even.
Tickets for a chance at the sub-compact car – a red, 2009 Nissan Versa – cost $10 each.
The drawing for the car is scheduled for the end of February.
Morrow said they'll sell the tickets at the Bristol Home and Business Show, scheduled for Feb. 20-22.
"That would be our last big push," said Morrow, before the drawing.
There are 3,000 raffle tickets to sell, and Morrow said 1,500 will cover the cost of the car. After that, the proceeds go to the fuel bank.
But despite promoting the raffle at festivals and events and on posters since late September, only about 800 tickets have sold so far.
Mayor Art Ward said ticket sellers might have to exert a little personal pressure to get them sold.
"We're going to have to tap people on the shoulder," said Ward, who carries a wad of tickets around, hoping to sell them.
Morrow said he spent several hours recently at Wal-Mart, trying to sell raffle tickets to customers, but only managed to unload 11 of them.
People are either not willing – or not able – to spend $10 on a raffle ticket, Morrow said.
Peggy Sokol, aging services director, said the raffle isn't a big winner at the senior center, either.
"I have tried my darndest to push those tickets," said Sokol. "Nobody's interested in buying them."
Tickets will be available at Chili's restaurant on Thursday, Feb. 12, Morrow said. That night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., the restaurant will be hosting a "Tip a Firefighter Night" to benefit the fuel bank.
Morrow said he'd like to hear of more places or events where BCO could sell the tickets.
Only half joking, Morrow said he would like to try to sell tickets at an off track betting office. He said gamblers would have better odds with a raffle ticket than they do on the ponies.
BCO is the agency in charge of the raffle, but it is a project of the Winter '09 committee, which is made up of city departments and community agencies that help residents in need of food, clothing, shelter and heat in the coldest months.
The Bristol Fuel Bank, administered by BCO, is set up to help city residents who are having trouble paying for heat, but who do not qualify for federal or state fuel assistance.
The fuel bank gives loans, which it expects recipients to repay before asking for more help.
The Crowley dealership sold the car to BCO at cost, said Morrow, and has also donated a second place prize of a $250 gas card and a third place prize of some car washes.
Raffle tickets are available from BCO at 55 South St., from Ward and others.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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