I love thrift shops. I’m in a Goodwill three to four times a month looking for “dispose-a-books” — cheap novels that I can read like mental candy, and then turn around and donate right back to Goodwill again. When my kids need Halloween costumes, I’m also at Goodwill, buying interesting used clothes that can be shaped into cheap, imaginative and fun costumes. The cool thing about this is that, even as I’m getting what I want at prices that can’t be beat, I’m also contributing to the Goodwill mission of aiding those less fortunate than I am. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship.
I come by my love of thrift shops honestly. When I was a child, my Dad used to take my sister and me regularly to the St. Vincent De Paul store in San Francisco. He and I would happily root through the piles of stuff there. In those days, before everyone got savvy about antiques, I could still find antique photos and prints (my childhood hobby), and it was my father who looked for books (although his tastes were much more erudite than mine). We spent many happy hours in St. Vincent De Paul, coming home tired, dusty, only slightly poorer than when we left, and lugging armloads of goodies.
St. Vincent De Paul’s is on my mind today because it is running a magnificent raffle. As John Hawkins says, you know it’s an amazing raffle when the third prize is Superbowl Tickets. Here are the prizes being offered:
The Winner Wins for Two!
The winner of Meet Me in Manhattan will bring the companion of his/her choice to share the entire prize package.
The Meet Me in Manhattan winner will receive roundtrip airfare for two to New York. Airline to be determined after city or town of residence of winner is identified.
Meet Bill O’Reilly
The Meet Me in Manhattan winner will visit Fox News Channel’s studios in Manhattan and meet Bill O’Reilly. Mr. O’Reilly is the undisputed king of cable television news. For the past ten years, “The O’Reilly Factor” has reigned as the world’s top-ranked cable TV news program, breaking records for “most viewers” in almost every measurable category. A wildly successful author, Mr. O’Reilly’s 9th book will be released in the fall of 2010. Four of his books zoomed to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Mr. O’Reilly has made countless appearances as a guest on such national programs as Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View and Oprah. He has traveled to all 50 states and 72 foreign countries, and has earned Master’s degrees from both Boston University and Harvard. The Meet Me in Manhattan winner will enjoy the experience of watching Bill O’Reilly host an edition of “The O’Reilly Factor.”
Four days/three nights of accommodations at the world renowned Essex House
The Meet Me in Manhattan winner will enjoy never-to-be forgotten, three-night accommodations in a luxury two-bedroom apartment, a spectacular property from the famous Lauren Berger Collection, overlooking Central Park at the world renowned Essex House.
Dinner at BoBo Restaurant hosted by celebrity chef Patrick Connolly
Winner will enjoy dinner at the acclaimed upscale restaurant, BoBo, where one of America’s top chefs, Patrick Connolly, rules the kitchen. Patrick’s brother, Dan, is a 318-pound lineman for the NFL’s New England Patriots. Dan knows how to eat, and Patrick knows how to cook! A native of St. Louis, Patrick achieved smashing success at Radius in Boston. After winning the James Beard award as the top chef in the northeastern United States, Patrick moved to BoBo in New York where his inventive cuisine has wowed patrons and critics alike. In recent months, Patrick has exhibited his culinary creations on ABC-TVs Nightline, NBC-TV’s Today Show, and CBS-TV’s Early Show. An unforgettable dining experience will be enjoyed by the Meet Me in Manhattan winner at BoBo.
Two Tickets to a Major League Baseball Game at Yankee Stadium
In 2009, the House That Ruth Built, Yankee Stadium, was replaced by the new Yankee Stadium. Debuting in the most expensive and elaborate baseball stadium ever built, the legendary Yankees won the World Series in their first season in their new home. America’s Great Raffle winner will see the Yankees take on the Tampa Rays, who stunned the baseball world with their first ever trip to the World Series in 2008. With the Rays getting off to the best start in the Major Leagues in 2010, their rivalry with the Yanks is heating up in the American League Eastern Division. There’s nothing like September baseball at Yankee Stadium in New York during the heat of a pennant race!
Two Tickets to a Broadway Show
Imagine walking on Broadway in the autumn air to one of many legendary theaters to see some of the world’s greatest stars perform. In the last year, more than 12 million people paid more than $1 billion to see the stars on Broadway. Pending ticket availability, the Meet Me in Manhattan winner will have excellent seats at the Broadway show of their choice!
A $3,000 Shopping Spree
In the world of shopping, there’s nothing like strolling down 5th Avenue to shop at some of the finest stores in the world. Try on the Manolo Blahnik shoes at Niemen Marcus, or shop Saks 5th Avenue (the original!), Bloomingdale’s, Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Cartier, FAO Schwarz and countless others. Stuffed with $3,000 of Meet Me in Manhattan prize money, the winner will engage in a shopping spree to remember forever!
Round-trip airfare for two anywhere in the continental U.S.
Two tickets to the 2011 Super Bowl .
Two tickets to the 2011 MLB All-Star game.
$1000 furniture shopping spree at Weekends Only.
My mind is boggling. That’s an incredible grand prize — so good, in fact, that I think my uber-liberal husband would even tolerate meeting Bill O’Reilly for the pleasure of everything else that comes with it.
The cool thing is that, just as with my book-buying junkets, there is a very cool symbiotic relationship going on here. A raffle ticket costs only $100. For that price, even if you don’t win (and the possibility of winning is a pretty darn good inducement for buying the ticket), look what your money does:
* Utility assistance, medications, medical transportation, car repairs, cars to the working poor, home repairs, free legal assistance, free budget assistance, hospital visits, prison visits
* Housing for homeless veterans and people with mental disabilities
* Aid for those who have been downsized, lost their jobs, suffered through a divorce, a foreclosure
* Food for the needy through 83 food pantries
* Furniture, clothing, household goods for those in need through our Thrift Stores
* Home visits to comfort and aid those who are suffering
St. Vincent De Paul is now, and always has been, a true service organization. Now’s your chance to help it advance its goals, even as you get in line for the possibility of a fantasy vacation. So, if you’re interested, go here, and take a chance for charity.
(Post script: If you’re a blogger and help publicize this raffle, be sure to link to this Right Wing News post as part of that publicity, email to John Hawkins that you’ve done so, and you’ll find yourself in a little contest of your own. John has promised to give away two tickets to a blogger who helps publicize the raffle. That’s really cool.)