Jimmy Brown never bought $1,000 in groceries before.
And in his first opportunity, he instead chose to give it to someone else.
“I don’t need a $1,000 in groceries,” he said. “So I donated it to Isaiah’s Kitchen.”
So, early Saturday morning Renee Madron, executive director of the Isaiah’s Kitchen food bank, arrived at Albertson’s with a shopping list. The opportunity was provided by the Lea County Drug Coalition, which held the raffle ticket fundraiser with the winner receiving a $1,000 shopping spree at the grocery store.
Madron admitted her list was small. She needed some hams, aluminum cooking trays, pie crusts and cool whip in preparation for the upcoming Christmas Day lunch. She also needed some hand soap and toilet paper, two items rarely donated, and some fruit which Madron said will be “awesome from Christmas Day.”
With some help Brown, store director Jubel Patterson, and the CDC’s Dora Yanez, Shawna Martinez, Lavoid Ford and Kathi Bearden, Madron got what was on her list, a few more items, like chicken broth and salsa. But as it turns out, the list needed to be longer. After the first round in the check aisle, more than $400 was still available.
“It’s harder than you think to spend $1,000 grocery shopping,” said Patterson, who has been with the grocery store for more than 20 years. “This is the first time we have ever done a shopping spree like this. It’s just really awesome that the food is going to a great cause. You gotta give it up to Jimmy for thinking about those in need during this time of the year.”
After three more trips, Madron and Bearden came back with several packages of sugar, more ham and some brisket. As the last few items crossed the checkout scanner, Madron was seen jumping and clapping with glee. The final tally was a bit more than the goal at $1,123. But that just allowed someone else to be generous.
“I just can’t believe how wonderful this is,” Madron said as seven shopping carts were pushed out of the store. “I am so excited. We get to get some things that we normally don’t get.”
The Lea County CDC started the raffle as an opportunity to raise funds for its events. Martinez said it was the first year the CDC held this type of a fundraiser.
“We’ll probably continue to do it and build on it next year,” she said. “We just appreciate all the support from the community to raise money for our office.”
Martinez said the funds raised will be use for such programs as the school mentoring program and a program with the Hobbs Municipal Court. The program puts together Municipal Court, the CDC, PDAP and the Lea County Guidance Center to get people services they need help with as opposed to incarceration. The program works in three phases, prevention, intervention, treatment.
“We also do presentations throughout the community and trying to raise awareness of who we are and what we do,” Martinez said. “What’s great about today is that two non-profit organizations received help from the community. We got our funding through the fund-raiser and Isaiah’s Kitchen got some much needed food and supplies during the holiday season.”
And it was all because Brown bought a ticket.
“Dora (Yanez) is my neighbor, so she asked me if I would buy a raffle ticket,” Brown said. “I never thought I would win and when she came to me saying I had won I didn’t know what to do. I’d never won anything like this before and I’ve never bought $1,000 in groceries. So I thought it would be best to give it to someone who helps the homeless and those in need.”
Madron called it a blessing. Patterson called it awesome and Brown just thought it was the right thing to do.
“And as long as Dora is my neighbor, I’m sure I’ll be buying more raffle tickets,” Brown said. “So who knows what will happen next year.”
Todd Bailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.