It was a perfect evening at the ballpark. Blue skies, warm sun, cool breeze, and a winning team! Little girls in sparkly dance costumes, a father-son event, a group supporting foster children, students from Harborside presenting a baseball history project, Miss Kenosha singing the national anthem, Elvis the Kingfish posing for pictures in a crown as shiny as Miss Kenosha’s.
The Kenosha County Food Bank had a ticket concession and the 50/50 raffle to earn funds for we mission, supporting the work of the food pantry network in Kenosha as they strive to provide Healthy Food For All. Our volunteers worked ticket tables and walked through the stands with long strips of raffle tickets.
The Kingfish fans were feeling happy and generous that evening, and they bought large numbers of raffle tickets. The pot grew and grew, topping $1100 by the 7th inning when we had to cut off sales in order to separate and shake up all the tickets for the drawing. Early in the 8th inning, the announcer called out the winning number, and within 5 minutes the owner of the winning ticket arrived breathlessly at our table.
Laurie Wulf and Itzna Brown had both purchased long strings of raffle tickets early in the evening; we recognized them and shared in their excitement. We rejoiced even more when, after the first frenzy subsided, they announced their decision to donate their half of the winnings to the Kenosha County Food Bank. Laurie held the money for a moment before handing it back to the KCFB treasurer. She said, “Our husbands don’t know, but they won’t care because we never really had this money.”
Laurie and her husband Tim Wulf have a history with food banks and food pantries. They moved to Kenosha from Waukesha in 2005 and were looking for ways to stay connected to their Waukesha community. They began volunteering at a Waukesha food pantry over the Thanksgiving holiday, and that has become their Thanksgiving tradition, nearly 20 years now. So it was especially fitting that on the night of Kenosha County Food Bank’s community outreach concession at the Kingfish game, the raffle was won by people already dedicated to feeding the hungry. We gave hugs of gratitude to Laurie and Itzna, whose friendly outing to the ballpark had become more exciting than they ever expected, and Laurie said, “Bless you for what you do.” Same, Laurie, same.