United Way not giving away a home in 2016, launches new campaign

United Way not giving away a home in 2016, launches new campaign

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The United Way of Southeast Mississippi is launching a new raffle for 2016.

"This year we are introducing United Way $100k Payday, " said Staci Cox, director of marketing and communications for the United Way of Southeast Mississippi. "In the past, our public is used to being able to do the Home Sweet Home raffle, and so we've kind of revamped our raffle system this year."

Cox said the United Way hosted the Home Sweet Home raffle for the past 13 years, but in 2014 and 2015, winners had a choice between the home or $100,000.

"Throughout ticket sales of our Home Sweet Home raffle last year, we kind of did an informal survey with our ticket purchasers," Cox said. "It was an optional thing. If they did it, they had the opportunity to win another prize. In that survey, we asked the public 'why are you purchasing a ticket?' because we want to know. What is the reason? The majority, we saw an overwhelming response, that people, one, wanted to support United Way, and this was a fun way to do it. And, two, if they won, they would choose the money. We felt we wanted to appeal to a broader audience with our ticket sales, so we decided to revamp and just do $100,000 as opposed to a home sale."

Cox said the 2014 raffle winner did choose the home, but the 2015 winner chose the money. Cox also said the majority of the home raffle winners did not keep the homes long term.

"Out of 13 years, only one person still has the home, so it's kind of evidence as to what we need to do," Cox said.

Cox said the annual fundraiser is particularly fun because of the community involvement, but this year, she said she has excited to hear how people plan to spend the prize money.

"This year it's going to be interesting because we're going to get to ask people 'well what are you going to with $100,000?'" she said. "There's so many things that you could do. I mean, that could go towards payment of a new home. It could go towards student loans, debt payoff, a new car, savings. I'm interested to see what people are going to say."

Tickets for the $100,000 prize are $100 and are on sale April 1-May 22. All of ticket money is used to support The United Way and the 19 agencies it supports throughout the Pine Belt.

"United Way works with 19 different service partners within Forrest, Lamar, Perry and Marion counties," Cox said. "Those agencies are working to improve or better education, health, financial stability and support services within our four county radius."

Tickets can be purchased:

  • HubFest and Live at Five
  • United Way office- 210 W. Front St. Hattiesburg | phone: 601.545.7141
  • Owens Business Machines- 2108 Hardy St. Hattiesburg
  • Corner Markets in Petal, Hattiesburg Midtown, Oak Grove, Bellevue
  • Sunflower
  • Select branches of:
    • Citizens Bank
    • Community Bank
    • Grand Bank
    • Hancock
    • Magnolia State Bank
    • Regions

Tickets purchased at HubFest and Live at Five will be entered into extra drawing for a free ticket. Tickets purchased before April 17 will be entered into a drawing for an early bird prize package made of donations from local businesses.

The drawing for the $100,000 grand prize is May 31 at Patio 44 at 6 p.m. The winner does not need to be present to win, but Patio 44 will be hosting a profit share with The United Way that night. The restaurant will donate 10 percent of food sales on May 31 to The United Way.