Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

There are many charities out there, all needing money, so it pays to get creative with fundraising. Cindy Miller, Director of the Eaton Area Senior Center, has found another creative way to build up their bank accounts. The Center is holding a Helicopter Cash Raffle on September 11, 2022, during Frontier Days.
So, what is a Helicopter Cash Raffle? The helicopter will drop three balls, each a different color, onto a grid painted on the ground at the Eaton County Fairgrounds. The first ball dropped will determine the big winner, the second drop is second place, and the square that the third ball lands in is third place. Judges will be on hand to make determinations as needed.
The grand prize is $5,000, second place wins $1,000, and third place takes home $500. Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased at the Center, located at 804 South Cochran, and at various locations throughout the Fairgrounds during Frontier Days.
Those who were part of an earlier High Roller Raffle were offered an exciting bonus: reserve your Helicopter Cash Raffle tickets early and you could be a passenger on the ball-drop helicopter. A drawing will be held from the 56 early bird ticket buyers for a very special experience.
Eye Care Associates and Sparrow Eaton Hospital are covering the costs of a helicopter from Michigan Helicopters for the event. With their help and other sponsors like Pray Funeral Home, Insty-Prints, and Frontier Days, there will be no cost to the senior citizens.
“As an annual event, this fundraiser would help keep our local Senior Center activities going for years to come,” Miller said.
COVID deeply affected the Senior Center, she explained. “COVID taught us that we are very vulnerable. We are 100% self-funded, and we need to diversify our fundraising.”
“We lost $98,000 in catering income and $30,000 in rentals in the first year of COVID. Our raffles were down, and we were closed for Bingo. We have a large loan to pay off that we had to take out to get through that time.”
“Right now, I’m trying to pull rabbits out of my hat,” Miller said, “and hope this helicopter raffle will help us financially.”
There are currently 400 members of the Center “post-COVID” Miller said. The number before the pandemic was 600. The numbers are slowly building back up, along with their activities and building rentals.
Bingo, exercise, cards, trips, lunches, bunco, family events, and more are happening at the Eaton Area Senior Center. They also operate a banquet venue, perfect for your wedding reception, open house, or any other special occasion.
Find out more information about the Helicopter Cash Raffle or about the Eaton Area Senior Center by calling (517)541-2934 or (517)588-1626 or drop in at the Center. It’s open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., and for special events.