ROC Society hosts 50/50 draw for agencies across Nova Scotia

    The Regional Occupation (ROC) Society’s Krystal MacDonnell reads the name of the first winner in the WinAbility weekly 50/50 raffle on April 15 at the ROC facility in Port Hawkesbury, as ROC Society executive director Diana Poirier (left) and ROC client Stacy Boudreau look on.

    PORT HAWKESBURY: The first draw in a new raffle that will benefit groups across the province was held here last week.

    On April 15, the Regional Occupation Centre (ROC) Society in Port Hawkesbury hosted the first of what are hoped to be many draws in WinAbility, a weekly 50/50 raffle with proceeds going to 23 Nova Scotia agencies that serve adults with disabilities.

    The first week’s winner was Melissa White, who will take home $4,702.50, and the recipient of part of the proceeds from those ticket sales is the Corridor Community Options for Adults in Enfield.

    ROC Society executive director Diana Poirier said 10,440 tickets were sold for the inaugural draw.

    “That’s a huge accomplishment for our sector across the province,” Poirier said. “We’ve worked on this for the last two months, and we really looked at what are options were because our sector has really taken a hit since there is nowhere for us to fundraise because of COVID and all the restrictions. We really did look at what are our options and we thought a provincial initiative would work better for all of us.”

    A percentage of each ticket sold will go directly to a different agency each week, which is a structure similar to the Nova Scotia Firefighters 50/50 Raffle, Poirier noted.

    “There were a lot of us following it, purchasing tickets and we looked at it and thought, ‘let’s try it and say how it will work out for us,’” Poirier recalled.

    The ROC Society said all WinAbility 50/50 draws will be made at their building in Port Hawkesbury every Thursday at 2 p.m.

    “Somebody has to have the lottery license so we put our name forward,” Poirier explained. “Only one entity can have the lottery license, and with that comes the draws happen on site. It is a provincial initiative and everything was done provincially even if we are the ones that hold it.”

    Ticket sales will close on Thursdays at 12 p.m. and the ROC Society said tickets can be purchased at:

    Each draw will take place on Facebook Live, the group noted.

    “When people purchase tickets, there’s a drop down menu and they can pick their local organization, or they’re able to pick a different organization, maybe it might not be their local organization that they’re looking to support,” Poirier explained. “They can also give it to the group, and then that’s shared among everybody.”

    All participating agencies in the raffle are part of DirectioNS Council, Poirier said, noting the council supports agencies in the delivery of services to those with disabilities.

    In addition to the ROC Society, participating agencies include Mill Road Social Enterprises in Inverness, and from Antigonish County, the Heatherton Activity Centre.

    From new buildings, to continuing programs and services, Poirier added that these raffles will fulfill a vital need from one end of the province to the other.

    “For us, we’re building a new building in the back so this is going to help us move our next phase forward, to have a workshop and to have more storage for our clothing and recycling unit,” she added. “That’s where we will be focusing our efforts and putting our money into our next project.”