By Mark Squibb/December 9, 2021
You may not see any Lions selling tickets at the grocery stores this holiday season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a ticket and support the Club.
“We took a huge leap, and employed a company called the Breton Group, and we are now operating or sponsoring an online 50/50 lottery that reaches throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador,” explained Janine Howse, treasurer of the CBS Lions Club.
Howse is confident folks would support the lottery, same as they have supported ticket sales in years past — just so long as they know about it.
“The concern we have with it is that the marketing has been a bit of a challenge, because no more are we sitting in stores with our vests on,” she said. “I just wanted to encourage the community, because they have been our greatest support for these 50 something years, that if they aren’t aware of our lottery, they can support us by buying some tickets… We just want to be sure that the community of CBS and the surrounding area are aware that this project is happening, and that it’s an opportunity for them to offer their support for us.”
Lions raise funds for community initiatives such as breakfast clubs, scholarships, Scout groups, food banks, and Ronald McDonald Houses, but, like many other groups, have had a difficult time raising funds in the midst of the pandemic.
“Since COVID has come on the scene, our regular fundraising projects – and our big one was our regular Christmas Sweep – has ground to an absolute halt, because we couldn’t go into the stores to sell tickets, and even if we could, we weren’t going to expose our Lions to that risk, sitting with a crowd of people, handling tickets and pens and cash,” said Howse. “So, our only source of income in the past two years from publicly raised funds has been the VOCM Radio Bingo, and that has not been as great because of the COVID restrictions. So, it’s not been great at all.”
Monies raised over and above the cost of operating the lotto will be used towards operating the Lion Max Simms Memorial Camp in Central Newfoundland.
“We call that camp a special place for special people,” said Howse. “So, people with health and physical and mental challenges can go there and have a good camp. They of course have been hit hard by the pandemic because they couldn’t hold camp.”
With some restrictions being lifted in recent months, Howse said she believed the Club may be turning the corner on COVID-19 and that the club may be able to get out in the public a little more come the spring.
But some things, she said, may never go back to the way they were.
“We’re going to have to change how we do things,” said Howse. “I don’t think we’ll ever be able to go back to sitting in the store and selling tickets. I don’t think that will ever be a hundred per cent safe for our members.”
Tickets in the online lottery can be purchased at www.christmascash5050.com. Tickets are 3 for$10, 10 for $25, or 25 for $50. The potential 50/50 prize is nearly $667,000. The winner would receive half of that.