Pictured: Cheryl Scorgie, Store Manager Renay Batt, SPIN Mascot Lionel the Lion AKA Barry O’Mara and Donna Luff.
The giant Stocking Raffle, an icon of ‘Christmas in Yass’ has returned with a bigger and better prize pool for 2020. In a collaborative effort between the SPIN Foundation (Supporting People In Need) and the Yass Apex Club, the yearly tradition of the Christmas raffle stocking returns after its 2019 absence. The Stocking, currently at Woolworths Yass, is brimming with a bumper load of groceries along with 15 potential prize packs available, a substantial upgrade from its traditional three prize places with the bountiful loot provided by the Woolworths store and other generous donations from local businesses and individuals. President of the SPIN Foundation Mr Barry O’Mara sat down with the Yass Valley Times and gave a helpful dip into the history of this tradition and its associates, and what this tradition means to community organisations. Starting back in 1960, Mr O’Mara describes a crude stocking, designed out of “a chicken wire/mesh style stocking, roughly put together, filled with groceries and raffled off as a draw.” This Stocking would be improved upon, with what we currently see as the successor to the rudimentary design. The Stocking would be upgraded and rebuilt by Yass Apex Club member Neville Crossley, with this design staying in use and function even after the folding of the Apex club and the transition into private use among board members. For those confused about 2019’s absenteeism, especially after the successful years of 2017 and 2018 which brought CanAssist and Parkinson’s Awareness much needed support, Mr’OMara also provided context – the “passing the mantle on” between Apex and SPIN is an effort to maximise workforce.
SPIN continues to grow with currently 24 members of varying ages. While former Apex board members are still the legal owners of the Stocking, the Stocking has been effectively loaned. Don’t be confused by this transition, as it’s one not of competition, but cooperation, with Mr O’Mara putting it simply; “Everyone has the same goal and are working together as a team”. As previously mentioned, the Stocking this year will have a higher available prize content than the years preceding, with 15 available prize packs including the Stocking’s impressive grocery haul as first place, a child’s scooter, $300 meat pack, $380 homewares pack, various vouchers, Fitbit watch and Bluetooth speakers, as well as various other packs for the men, ladies, children and even pets – all provided by local businesses.
As in previous years, the money raised from the raffle will assist others, this year going towards medical patients associated with the SPIN foundation. The Patient Liaison Committee will review cases, and those in need of medical support will be given a share of the funds. With events such as these, the most important aspect is always the community and how it both receives and helps direct the creation of such occasions. Mr O’Mara fondly remembers the long tradition of the Christmas stocking; “It’s been an icon in Yass, I remember as a kid growing up, my mum buying a ticket every year – it’s just one of those iconic Christmas things you associate with,” Mr O’Mara reminisced.
A sentiment likely shared by Yass residents who contribute to its creation, show support by buying a ticket and hope for good Christmas Tidings of a winning ticket. Various businesses this year allocated funds and items for the Stocking, reinforcing the Stocking as a well-supported and much-loved end of year Christmas fundraiser event. Mr O’Mara thanked the support, commenting “I would like to thank the Apex board for making the opportunity available, and all the local businesses that have jumped on board and donated, and just the general public.”
The Stocking can be viewed at Yass Woolworths with tickets on sale, then on the main street on the 10th and 17th of December so that residents can take advantage of late-night shopping. The raffle will be drawn and handed off to its respective winners on the 21st of December, a change from the standard Christmas eve to allow more time to prepare Christmas goodies and meals. All that is needed now is for residents to try their luck and put forward for their chance to win a prize and help keep a Yass tradition alive that’s been going for more than half a century.