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OCE Residents Give Generously To Cyclone Relief

An “embarrassing” raffle win for Mara Mayo, who won a free Tasty Thymes dinner after having organised the raffle in the first place, has turned into a successful fundraising effort to benefit the Cyclone Gabrielle appeal.

Reluctant to accept the prize herself, Mara decided to raffle it again with a view to donating the proceeds to the Red Cross cyclone appeal. She spoke to friend and fellow OCE resident, Margaret Hartley, who generously offered to buy a second meal to add to the prize to make it even more attractive.

Their initial gesture then snowballed into a mega raffle which Margaret says OCE residents generously supported. “Between us we managed to gather 21 individual prizes worth about $350 – everything from bottles of wine to boutique gin, beautiful home baking, a fuel card, vouchers for groceries and a local cafe.”

A total of 191 tickets were sold for $5 each over a week with many OCE residents giving donations instead of (or in addition to) tickets. A final total of $2,020 was donated to the National Red Cross NZ Disaster Appeal.

The raffle was drawn on a Friday afternoon in the village centre’s dining area where many people gathered to see who the 21 lucky recipients might be. Mara says it was a case of choosing from the table if you were present, or having your prize chosen for you if you were unable to be there in person.

“We were so grateful for having escaped Cyclone Gabrielle here in the Bay of Plenty,” Mara explains. “We just got a bit of heavy rain and wind. But there are a number of residents who used to live in some of the affected areas or still have family living there, so people were very keen to help. It was a busy period of time but very rewarding and a lot of fun too.”

Margaret had created a poster for the mailroom to advertise the raffle. “We are thrilled with the outcome and grateful to everyone for their generous support.”

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