May 17, 2022

Great Big Christmas Raffle a great big success

Community-wide effort helped put United Way over the top

After a bit of a rocky start, Jasper County United Way’s second annual Great Big Christmas Raffle found its own path to success.

“I was very worried a week ago cause we hadn’t sold enough tickets to cover the costs for the prizes,” UWJC Executive Director Jessica Lowe Vokes said.

But thankfully for United Way, after partnering with Newton High School’s girls basketball team and ramping up its campaign, the organization was able to sell almost as many tickets and raise as much money as it did last year.

“We sold over 800 tickets which is just shy of what we sold during our raffle last year,” Lowe Vokes said.

The money raised from the raffle will be put towards United Way’s general fund. This fund is used to finance several projects throughout the year, from food assistance and homeless prevention to literacy programs.

“It’s tough times right now. We’re in the second year of the pandemic and it can be hard to drum up community support. But that support really helps us to do our work and help people who really need it,” Lowe Vokes said.

The raffle drawing took place the evening of Dec. 21. United Way gave away 32 prizes valued at more than $5,500.

The winners of the raffle and what they won are listed below:

Special congratulations to Liz Dodd who won multiple prizes (and had multiple tickets) including the $1,000 grand prize. Olive Garden & UW Hat - Mary Holmes; Amazon Gift Card & UW Hat - Ronnette Vondrak; Walkie Talkies - Sean Anthony; Dewalt Tool Box - Kimbra Korte; On 32″ Sound Bar - Brylee Magg; Fareway $50 Gift Card - Greg Woods; Rick’s BP Oil Change - Michelle Stalzer; Yeti Tumblers - Kathy Ellis; UWJC hat & $50 - Liz Dodd; Capitol II Movie for a Year - Liz Dood; Wal-Mart Gift Card - Julie Smith; Gregg Young Oil Change & Tire Rotation - Amy Green; Gregg Young Oil Change & Tire Rotation - Pat Hyslope; JH Travel Certificate - Lonnie Portner; Fareway $100 Gift Card - Lucas Hughes; UWJC Hat & $100 Cash - Stacy Dhabalt; Kate Spade wristlet - Brendan Lamont; Beats Ear Buds - Paula Arkema; Goldie’s For a Year - Liz Dodd; DeWalt Impact driver - Catherine Ashton; Adventureland Passes - Chelsie May; Kate Spade tote - Carrie Cibula; RTIC Cooler & Mugs - Steve Terlouw; Ryobi Tools - Eric Smith; 17″ Blackstone Griddle - Liz Dodd; Laptop - Evelyn George; Katie Jane $250 Gift Certificate - Dan Poduska; Coach Millie Tote - Nathan Unsworth; Roku 43″ Smart TV - Travis Wesley; Yeti 35 Thunder Cooler - Graham Sullivan; Blackstone Griddle, Bag & Tools - Doug Woods; and $1,000 CASH - Liz Dodd.

“This year was great,” Lowe Vokes said. “It always feels good to get to play Santa during this time of year.”

And in a twist usually only found in the cheesiest Christmas movies, Liz Dodd, the winner of this year’s big $1,000 cash prize, donated the entire amount back to the United Way to help them with their mission during the upcoming year.

“Liz purchased a lot of tickets this year and she won a lot this year, so she just wanted to give a little back,” Lowe Vokes said. “We’d love to hold another raffle next Christmas, and we’ve already heard from some people who are willing to donate items for it and many winners this year seemed excited about the possibility.”

Contact Abby Knipfel at 641-792-4687 ext. 6531 or

Abby Knipfel

Abby "Adler" Knipfel

Journalist at Newton Daily News. Currently covering Jasper County and writing passionate opinion pieces. They/Them