PLANT CITY Ocala resident Maria Humbarger is delighted to be driving a new $50,000 Chevrolet truck thanks to a drawing at the Florida Strawberry Festival.
But the other winner - an organization that helps the Plant City area needy - is equally as thrilled.
At the same time Humbarger was handed the keys to her truck, Unity in the Community was presented a ceremonial check for $110,000 — the money raised by the sale of chances for the drawing.
“That’s the most we’ve ever made,” said Linda Lawson, 2014 Chairwoman of Unity in the Community.
Humbarger was among the thousands of festival visitors who bought $5 chances for the Silverado 4x4 Crew Cab. All proceeds went to Unity.
Humbarger received her red truck and Unity received its check at a March 25 ceremony at Stingray Chevrolet. Stingray dealer and owner Steve Hurley and his wife Susan have donated a vehicle for a drawing at the festival to benefit Unity for the last five years.
The drawing is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for Unity, founded in 1999 by Joyce Jordan Hooke to help Plant City area’s needy.
Steve Hurley is a board member of Unity and its former president.
“This is almost like Christmas for us,” Hurley said during the presentation in the showroom at 2002 N. Frontage Road.
Steve Hurley said he has long been impressed with the help Unity provides, including school supplies, winter jackets and backpacks to hundreds of needy youngsters each year.
“Its fun to give. It’s hard to believe this is the fifth time we’ve done this type of presentation and it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come in such a short time,” he said.
Lawson credited board members, volunteers and members of the community for the fundraiser’s success.
“We had 100 percent participation at the festival,” Lawson said. “It was a wonderful opportunity.”