Port Cares 50-50 winner donates back to the community

Debbie Mamo, Michael Mamo, Amanda Upper, Supervisor of Port Cares Reach Out Centre and Food Bank, Sarah Eller, Manager, Port Cares Client Services. Port Cares photo

Port Cares press release – A local resident who won the inaugural Port Cares 50/50 draw showed even more support by donating a portion of their winnings back to the charity.

Michael Mamo of Port Colborne won the pot on September 10, 2020, at 6 p.m., collecting $19,830. When Port Cares staff phoned him to let him know of his winnings, he of course was in shock. “You’re serious? Are you serious?” came out a lot in the conversation. But also, when arranging the cheque delivery, Mamo said, “You keep $5,000.”

Port Cares’ goal for the draw was to raise $15,000.

“I’ll admit, we were up against other online fundraising efforts across the region and we were a bit skeptical about reaching our goal a week earlier,” says Christine Clark Lafleur, executive director of Port Cares. “But we saw the community come together with such amazing support in the final days, it was phenomenal and exhilarating.”

On Monday, September 7, the total pot was sitting at a total of $18,000, half of which would go to the winner and half to Port Cares. On the morning of September 10, the total pot was at $26,000 with the take-home prize starting at $13,000. Ticket purchases then started to grow like wildfire in the afternoon pushing the total pot to $39,660 and the winner’s take home to $19,830.

“We went the extra mile to offer in-person sales at our office with a handheld machine that printed out tickets on the spot,” explains Clark Lafleur. “We had so many people coming in on the draw day. We watched the pot climb over $6,000 in mere hours leading up to the deadline.”

With the generous donation from the winner, Michael Mamo, the total amount Port Cares received $24,830 which will go directly towards their Reach Out Centre food bank and hot meal program; both of which do not receive government funding.

The money raised will benefit hundreds of children and families in need in Port Colborne and across South Niagara.

The draw transpired out of a need to recoup $150,000 in lost funding that was usually raised through fundraising events, which were cancelled due to the pandemic. This is the first of four draws that will take place over the next year.

The community came together in support of Port Cares new 50/50 draw, which local restaurants displaying promotional materials and putting stickers on takeout orders, prescription bags at Boggio’s Pharmacy, and grocery bags at Sobeys in town.

Three Early Bird draws took place on August 13, 20, and 27 for $100 gift cards to local stores.

“Here at Port Cares, our ability to serve the individuals, families, and children who count on us has certainly taken a toll with the impact of Covid-19,” says executive director, Christine Clark Lafleur. “Social distancing has limited the services we provide in-person while demand for assistance in areas like our meal program for low-income people has skyrocketed. And now with the economic downturn coming out of the pandemic, we know that the need in our community is only bound to grow.”