What are the odds that a foster parent would win the Built by Pros playhouse raffle and then donate the playhouse to Four Oaks? Very slim, considering there were 7, 141 tickets in the tumbler when Ruth Ehrhardt’s name was drawn during the last Cedar Rapids Kernels’ game of the season on September 3rd. She had purchased just six tickets, for a total of $5, earlier in the season.
“I was really surprised,” said Ehrhardt. “I had kind of forgotten about it. I don’t usually win things.” Yet Ehrhardt was on the phone with reps from Four Oaks and The Building Pros for about a minute when she mentioned that she wanted to donate the playhouse to Four Oaks. As a foster parent with five teenagers in her Cedar Rapids home and a small backyard that could not easily accommodate the playhouse, she wanted to find a place where children could enjoy it. “I knew a family with younger children would get more use out of it than we would,” she said.
The fact that 100 percent of the proceeds were going to Four Oaks motivated Ehrhardt to purchase the raffle tickets. As a foster parent, Ehrhardt is familiar with Four Oaks and especially its affiliate, Iowa KidsNet – the statewide collaboration of six agencies that recruits, trains, licenses and supports Iowa’s foster and adoptive parents. She has opened her home to approximately 10-12 children each year for the past 25 years.
“Needless to say, we were surprised when someone so connected to our mission won the playhouse,” said Lindsey Buchheit, Business Development Manager at Four Oaks. “We had volunteers at nearly every Kernels’ game from April through September. We sold thousands of tickets, sometimes 50 or 100 to one person. We were excited when we learned Ruth’s story. Now we have the pleasure of giving the playhouse to a family with 7- and 8-year-old adopted girls, one of whom has special needs.”
The playhouse raffle was a project created by Building Pros of Eastern Iowa. The group, which represents area unions, union contractors, and suppliers, is committed to making a difference in the lives of children. They chose Four Oaks to receive 100 percent of the proceeds of the raffle, which took place throughout the entire 2012 Kernels’ season at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.