LOS BANOS The 7-foot Christmas tree decorated with dozens of gift certificates displayed in the window of Pearson’s Jewelers on Sixth Street now belongs to Los Banos residents Jill and Steve Posey.
The Giving Tree fundraiser, organized by Soroptimist International of Los Banos, was organized similar to an event held by another Soroptimist group, said Susie Toscano, committee chairwoman. “Everybody was happy to buy a ticket,” she said.
The Christmas tree was donated by a local business owner, along with gift certificates from a number of area stores and eateries estimated at nearly $3,000, organizers said. Around 400 tickets at $20 each were sold for the Dec. 13 drawing at Pearson’s Jewelers.
Jill Posey said she was stunned when she heard her name called. “I really didn’t expect them to call my name,” she said. “I wasn’t thinking much about being a winner.”
The Poseys said when they heard about the fundraiser, they knew they wanted to buy a few tickets to support the Soroptimist group and the fundraiser. “The Soroptimist (group) is a very worthy cause,” she said.
The Posey family has already begun using the gift certificates, including for gas, food and at Pearson’s Jewelers.
“We learned not to let gift cards sit around,” Jill Posey said. “We went out to dinner the same night we won. We’re very thankful. It’s been a wonderful blessing.”
Money raised from the fundraiser will go toward other community events held by the Soroptimist club throughout the year.
“That’s how we give back to the community,” Toscano said, “from the money that we make from our fundraiser(s).
The group also gave the Soroptimist Club at Los Banos High School $10 for every Giving Tree ticket students sold, Toscano said.
Organizers plan to hold the same fundraiser next year, thanks in large part to community participation, Toscano said. “It might get bigger (next year).”
Soroptimist International of Los Banos has 20 members who aim to help women and girls across the world live better lives and fulfill their dreams.