Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SALISBURY — In baseball lingo, there were ducks on the pond Tuesday, and they meant 180 needy families in Rowan County will be having a Thanksgiving dinner.
Catawba College’s Residence Life program held its 10th Annual Duck Draw Tuesday morning. Dr. Kenneth Clapp, assistant professor for philosophy and religion, used a grabbing tool to fish about 165 plastic ducks out of an inflatable pool.
Each of the ducks carried a number, and Clapp passed them to Sharon Newsome and Dee Woodie, who put the number next to the next available prize.
The winners came from an inflatable pool of some 2,400 ducks of bright colors. Local businesses served as sponsors for the prizes.
Over the past 10 years, the annual fundraiser now has provided Thanksgiving meals to 1,000 families.
Tickets to the Duck Draw sell for $1, and the purchasers include students, faculty, staff, football fans and others in the community.
Resident assistants on campus and the college bookstore sell the majority of the tickets. In fact, RA James Everidge sold 563 duck draw tickets by himself this year.
“It’s a good cause,” said Everidge, a senior majoring in business administration and sports management.
He also called businesses to provide prizes and found strong interest in the community.
“Everybody knows what it is by now,” said Woodie, administrative assistant for student affairs and residential life.
The first Duck Draw 10 years ago provided meals for 80 families. Woodie said this year’s fundraiser proved to be the biggest so far.
A Catawba College football fan group, which calls itself “Tailgate America,” also sold tickets at home football games, along with some of the RAs. The tailgaters set a goal of selling enough tickets to provide meals for 30 families.
RAs also helped in going through the community and picking up the prizes, the winners of which were determined by Tuesday’s Duck Draw.
Woodie said students and staff will go shopping today for all the food, including 10-pound turkeys.
The RAs will have a “packing party” Friday afternoon in which elements of the 180 individual meals are separated out and readied for pickup Monday by the Communities in Schools program.
Communities in Schools determines the families receiving the meals.
The trick for Catawba is to find freezer space over several days for the 100-plus turkeys.
The meals include turkey, dressing, cornbread, vegetables, a cooking pan for the turkey and brownie mix.
Fundraising started Sept. 6.
“The community was extremely generous,” said Kara Ostlund, associate dean for conduct administration and housing and residential life. “To see the number of ducks we sold was outstanding.”
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.