Women’s League of Van Buren hands out ‘Big Bucks’

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 227 views 

It was a "big" night for one lucky winner as GFWC-Women's League of Van Buren hosted its annual Big Bucks Dinner on Tuesday (Mar. 10) evening.

Held at the Van Buren Public Library, the evening included food, a silent auction, and a unique reverse drawing that made for some exciting moments and a tense countdown to the final reveal.

More than 100 members, supporters, and guests attended the Women's League's signature fundraiser. First held in the 1980s, the event has become a long-standing tradition for the organization and Van Buren.

"This fundraiser is crucial to our organization, in that it helps raise valuable dollars to benefit our Community Impact Projects," said Viki Kilgore, president of the Women's League of Van Buren. "Our members proudly support a number of projects in the community, including the Boys & Girls Club of Van Buren's SMART (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) Girls program, our annual VBHS senior scholarship, Girls State candidate, and other worthy causes."

Each year, the Club adopts a Community Improvement Project for which it raises funds and awareness. Past items have included the restoration of the Hebe statue at the historic Crawford County Courthouse, reading rockers at the Van Buren Public Library, a scoreboard for the softball fields at Field of Dreams, and more. The group also hosts a unique "Make It, Bake It, or Fake It " auction at Christmas to raise money to purchase gifts for deserving charities and local families in need.

"Our Club has a rich legacy of service to the community and we are proud to have a reputation as a group that gets things done," said Kilgore. "Some of our members have been involved for decades and some of those here tonight have been buying tickets for this event nearly since its inception."

Tickets for Big Bucks were $100 and included dinner for two and the chance to win the $5,000 cash giveaway. Throughout the evening, numbers were drawn one by one, eliminating ticket holders with each name read. The group limits the total number of tickets sold to 120, to provide guests with a higher chance at winning the grand prize.

Random numbers were awarded smaller $50 and $100 cash prizes. A complete ticket listing was projected on the community room's screen to help guests track their numbers. With each name called, numbers were highlighted to show which were eliminated and which were still in play. As the draw down came to a conclusion, representatives for the final three numbers were asked to come forward.

Mike and Gayle William's number was drawn first earning, them the second runner-up spot and $100. Stacy Bowlin's number was pulled next, making her the first runner-up and winner of $200. That left the number for Jim and Linda Udouj, who were unable to attend, but were well-represented by their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren at the dinner. Jason Hurst and his children Ethan and Clara proudly accepted the $5,000 check on the Udoujs' behalf.