By Joey McWilliams
BRYAN COUNTY – The idea here is basically free stuff. The Bryan County United Way is at it again and finding ways to give things to people in the community.
Debuting in 2015, the Great American Giveaway is back for a repeat performance on Saturday, Sept 23.
Bryan County United Way director Pam Robinson talked about the event that is made possible by items donated from local home improvement businesses.
“We store the items and when we get enough, we organize the event,” Robinson said. “Anybody can come out.”
The Giveaway will be held in the parking lot of the Durant campus of Victory Life Church and is open to all Bryan County residents. Those who to get in on the opportunity can come out on Saturday morning to receive a ticket.
“We start giving tickets out at 8:30 right up until 10 a.m,” Robinson said. “It doesn’t make any difference if you are there at 8:30 or 9:55, because everyone has the same chance.
“It’s totally fair because we’ll pull the tickets out in a lottery system. Once all of the tickets are drawn, everybody else that didn’t win can leave.
“And we have an organized way of getting in line and getting through to get their pallets. All the items are put on pallets so it’s easy for us to get them loaded up in their vehicle.”
Items are placed on pallets in rows throughout the parking lot. Pallets have different kinds of supplies on them for different needs. Robinson said people are likely to arrive early to see what items are on the pallets and which pallet they would like to choose if the opportunity arrives.
The pallets are selected by the winners of the lottery in the order each person’s ticket is chosen. The ticket chosen first gets first choice of a pallet. The ticket chosen second gets the next choice, and so on.
Robinson said after choices are made and the pallets are marked for the winners who chose them, the process of collecting the goods goes quickly.
“They go over there and choose what they want,” Robinson said. “Their pallet is marked as taken and then they get in their vehicles in line. We have a tractor with a fork on it and can get it into your truck.
“It’s really fast. The last time we did this, we were through, the lot was cleaned up and we were in a circle saying a prayer for such a wonderful event at 1:30. Everybody was loaded and out of there.”
Robinson said the United Way has been saving up for quite a while, but during the year as people have needs, she sees to it that if they have what those people may need, they do give to them.
There is also a special use for some of the supplies they have at the moment.
“Right now, we have some perfect lumber, enough of it to build a house. So what we decided to do with it is that there is a group from Durant that is going to go down and help in the Houston area in hurricane relief in rebuilding. There’s enough lumber to build a house and we’re going to send that down.”
The tickets for the Great American Giveaway will start being given out at 8:30 on Saturday morning and the drawing will be at 10 a.m. Victory Life is located at the corner of Larkspur Lane and University Boulevard.
“I’m just so excited about it,” Robinson said. “It’s the most wonderful day to see people in need have their needs met. If you could see the look on their faces, it’s just the most wonderful thing.
“I love giving things away to people in need. It’s really an awesome event.”