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Saturday, Aug 30, 2014
Plant City Courier

Ocala woman wins $50,000 truck at drawing at Florida Strawberry Festival to benefit needy


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PLANT CITY Maria Humbarger will have a lot of sweet memories from her visit to the Florida Strawberry Festival.

The Ocala resident visited the celebration on its final day - and won a Chevy truck valued at $50,000 in a drawing. Chances cost $5, and the money goes to help the needy in the Plant City area.

“I have never won anything like that,” Humbarger said. “It’s going to take a couple of weeks to sink in.”

Humbarger, who attended the festival with friends, bought a ticket at about 2 p.m. for the drawing to benefit Unity in the Community. She was still at the festival three hours later when her ticket was drawn for the 2014 Silverado 4x4 Crew Cab.

The annual drawing sponsored by Stingray Chevrolet raises about $100,000 for Unity, which supports the needy in the area. Unity Chairwoman Linda Lawson said the drawing is the nonprofit’s largest fundraiser of the year.

The truck was donated by Stingray Chevrolet owner Steve Hurley and his wife Susan, and includes a lift, custom grill, wheels, 35-inch tires, flares, chrome, six-inch steps and bed liner.

Tickets for the drawing were sold throughout the 11-day festival that ended March 9. A child was selected from the audience to pull the winning ticket from the pile and the winner’s name was announced by Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Jessi Rae Varnum.

Money raised by the drawing will go toward community projects and organizations supported by Unity such as the United Food Bank, Trinity Sportsman’s Ministry, Manna on Wheels, Meals on Wheels and Everyday Blessings. Unity will also use the money to purchase backpacks and school supplies for underprivileged children, among other local programs that benefit students in need.

Hurley, former president of Unity in the Community, said he was glad that Humbarger was present when her ticket was drawn.

“What a dramatic ending,” he said.

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