The Big Drop was held without the usual audience to watch a shower of ping pong balls, but the outcome didn’t change: Thousands of dollars will support kids in the Cedar Rapids area.
Larry Kudej, Cedar Rapids Rotary West president, presented $5,000 checks this week HACAP and Van Buren elementary.
The Big Drop is a unique fundraiser where Rotary West members sell numbered ping pong balls which are dropped en masse to select a winner. The Big Drop is usually held outdoors in front of a large crowd at places like the Downtown Farmers Market or Kernels Stadium. This year, the balls came down indoors at the new Olympic Theater in New Bo, with only club helpers in attendance, masked and socially distanced because of the pandemic.
But the end result is the same: Rotary clubs assisting organizations in our community.
"Rotary's motto is Service Above Self,” Kudej says. “Cedar Rapids Rotary West takes that to heart when it comes to fundraising to help kids. With the realities of COVID and the derecho impacting our kids, we believe both Van Buren and HACAP can put the money we have raised to good use."
Amy Evans, Van Buren principal, says the funds will be used to purchase items like yoga mats so students can be comfortable learning outside, and other materials to facilitate learning within the new rules brought about by the pandemic.
Jan Hanks, volunteer coordinator at Van Buren, says the partnership between the school and Rotary West is truly special. “(Rotary has) really come through for us all these years and made the impossible, possible! By partnering with Van Buren, they aid in breaking through many inequities related to socioeconomic status and are contributing to our goal for ALL of our students to flourish equally.”
The funds awarded to HACAP will go to support the organization’s food programs for children.
Sharon Laird of Cedar Rapids was the lucky grand prize winner, and walks away with $3,000.
Big Drop sponsors include Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, IMON, Oasis Paychex, Skogman, Bankers Trust, Anderson Bogart, Brecke Mechanical, RSM, Hills Bank, Larry and Kim Kudej, Greenstate, and The Olympic South Side Theater.