Rotary’s annual fund raiser makes good ‘cents’ for local scholars

For the past 40 years, the Plainville Rotary Club has been hosting its annual Penny Sale, which has been one of its most successful fundraisers each year. This year’s 40th annual Penny Sale will be held on April 12 at the Plainville High School, and is expected to be as successful as past years, if not even better.
“It has always been a great draw, and 40 years later it still holds true to be the best fund raiser we have,” said Debra Vazquez, who does the public relations for the Plainville Rotary Club.
Ever since the Rotary’s inception in Plainville in 1955, the mission has always been to give back to the local community. Vazquez said the main purpose of the Penny Sale is to be able to provide scholarships to graduating seniors in Plainville who will be attending college in the fall. She said each year the Plainville Rotary Club has been handing out $15,000 to $20,000 in scholarships to between 20 and 25 graduating seniors, and all of that money is raised through the Rotary’s yearly fundraisers, like the Penny Sale.
Last year, Vazquez said between 350 and 400 individuals participated in the Penny Sale, which raised about $20,000. This year, she said the Club hopes to raise at least $20,000 to $25,000, and in the last five years, the sale has generated $80,000.
“It’s a fun event, and it’s a win-win for everybody,” she said. She explained how the Penny Sale works. Participants pay $1 for one ticket for each of the three sales with 100 chances of winning. There will be three designated sales, a red sale, a white, and a blue. In each sale, there will be 100 prizes up for grabs. At the end of the night, 300 prizes will have been handed out, and once those sales are over there will be a grand raffle where winners must be present.
All of the prizes, which include gift cards, bicycles, Kindles, and much more, come from the local businesses in the Plainville community.
“The local establishments really kick in and support us so we can put on this great event,” Vazquez said.
The Penny Sale is in addition to the many ways Rotary raises funds and gives back to the local community.
“We raise to give,” Vazquez said, adding the club has an annual golf tournament, a citrus sale, and more, and typically has a community service project each year for someone in need.
In the past, the Rotarians have worked with the Plainville Senior Center to buy and plant items on its grounds. Last year, the Rotarians helped to clear and beautify the yard of a local World War II veteran.
At the end of each school year, the club also hosts a scholarship evening with all of the recipients of that year’s graduating seniors who received a scholarship.
“Rotary is all about giving to our own; it’s about giving back to the community and to our youth,” Vazquez said, adding that the Plainville Rotary Club is comprised of about 30 members. “I have never seen a group more dedicated to their own community,” she said, adding that she is “very honored to be a part of it.”
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