Camera lights flashed and the crowd cheered as Barbara Cable, adrenaline pumping, rushed through each aisle, strategically pulling items – like cake mix, laundry detergent, mayonnaise and Hamburger Helper – off the shelf.
“Four minutes goes by really fast,” Barbara Cable said smiling as she looked over the shopping carts overflowing with paper towels and toilet tissue.
Cable – this year’s winner of King’s Market annual four-minute shopping spree sponsored by the San Juan Island Lions Club — collected a total of $736.33. And all of the merchandise will go to the Friday Harbor Food Bank.
“The Food Bank plays a really important role in the community,” Cable said. “I want to support them as much as possible.”
Cable’s grand total is the highest amount that Lion J.T. Towson can recall since the event started about 15 years ago. He said the sprees generally total around $500. Last year, Rusty Argall gathered $593 worth of goods in the spree and she also donated her winnings to the Food Bank.
Over the years Lion Bob Nieman has estimated that about half of the time winners donate to Food Bank, but raffle winners are free to do what they choose.
This year’s winning ticket for the spree was drawn on Sunday, after 5:30 p.m., along with three winning tickets for a turkey, which went to the Food Bank, Rod Wiese and Diedre Morris, who will be donating her bird to the Food Bank. The pre-Thanksgiving Day shopping spree is a fundraiser for the Lions’ Club scholarship program. Lion Bob Nieman estimates that about $1600 worth of raffles were sold this year.
“It’s so amazing,” said Food Bank Operations Director Pat Vannest about Cable’s donation. “So many people are generous.”
Families in need have increased 40 percent since last year, estimates Vannest. In just one week this month, in the span of four hours, the Food Bank served 164 families.
Thanks to the generosity of the community, the Food Bank’s shelves are already stocked with green beans, tuna, eggs and peanut butter; thanks to Cable, they have a few more “treat” items to offer.
“It’s good to remember that the holidays are special, even for those in need,” Vannest said.
When Cable found out that she won, she immediately phoned the Food Bank to compile a list of most wanted items. The next night she drove to King Market for a reconnaissance mission. She numbered the aisles correlating with desired foods on a piece of paper, and noted what shelves held what items.
“All night I dreamed of time deadlines,” said Cable the night before the spree.