Sheila Eichman said she usually doesn’t win anything. But her luck changed Wednesday evening, when a $10 raffle ticket resulted in more than $800 in free groceries.
Eichman was the winner of an annual Grocery Grab raffle fundraiser hosted by the Hays Sunrise Rotary Club as a way to raise money for city park improvements.
Eichman, followed by a small crowd, rushed through Dillons, 1902 Vine, with a shopping cart. She grabbed as much as she could, but was careful to focus on items that would keep well and her household would use.
“Oh my gosh,” Eichman said at the end of her five-minute shopping spree, as she tried to catch her breath. “That was awesome.”
The shopping spree was supervised by several Rotary members and Dillons manager Don Koerner. There were a few stipulations; Eichman only was allowed one minute in the meat section and could take only two of each item.
She made sure, however, to get a large Thanksgiving turkey for her mother, Shirley Eichman, who lives in WaKeeney. It actually was Shirley who purchased the winning ticket in her daughter’s name.
“I couldn’t believe it, actually,” Sheila Eichman said of hearing news she won the contest, which had at least 275 entries. “She asked me if I would do it if I won. I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ Mom bought the ticket. I thought, ‘Well, I never win anything.’ ”
She managed to fill nearly a cart and a half full of groceries, with a final bill of $833.90. Meat items accounted for a large portion of the bill, but she also took the opportunity to stock up on cheese, coffee and frozen foods.
Many curious shoppers paused to watch Eichman dash through the store, with some even following along. The shopping spree was announced on the store’s PA system prior to its start, with other shoppers urged to “step aside” if possible to let Eichman pass.
Eichman, who lives in Plainville, arrived at the store early with her boyfriend, Alon Zimmerman. They hadn’t shopped at the Hays grocery store since a recent remodel and wanted to scope out where their favorite items were.
“I was focused on the meat and my boundaries, because I only had a minute in the meat so I think I wanted to make sure I did well,” she said.
The raffle tickets were sold for $10 each, raising a total of $2,750. The cost of groceries will be subtracted from the proceeds, and all remaining funds will benefit improvements at Ekey Park, 19th and Holmes Road.
The Sunrise Rotary Club has “adopted” Ekey Park as an ongoing project and hopes to raise enough funds to install a restroom facility, said club president Larry Dreiling. A restroom is a desired addition to the park, which offers a large shelter house and often is rented for private parties.
“If you talk to the folks over at the (Hays) parks department, they’ve been wanting to try to get a restroom in there for a number of years,” Dreiling said.
The club has been hosting its Grocery Grab event for at least the past four years.