Model Easter House open for viewing
By Samantha Joseph
STUART -- A moving letter from a family who sold their house to pay for cancer treatments and a conversation with another recovering from a recent foreclosure reassures Robin Sutherland, YMCA's director of special projects, of the importance of her organization's annual Easter House raffle to the community.
For 26 years YMCA of the Treasure Coast has raffled a dream house, with tickets selling for $10. For the last two years, the group has partnered with developer DR Horton to offer homes in the Murano Community in Palm City, just off Sunset Trail.
The website, ymcaeasterhouse.org, describes the house as three-bedroom, two-bath with a two-car garage and covered patio.
Raffle organizers said the winner would get a house worth around $230,000 for the price of a $10 ticket.
"Expenses continue to rise every year, but we've kept the ticket price steady for 26 years," Ms. Sutherland said. "We feel anybody can afford a $10 chance to win a house."
Raffle sales have typically been strong for the nonprofit, which sold 62,749 tickets last year.
But this year, sales lagged, perhaps because many of its buyers are part-time residents who travel from the northeast, and have remained home to deal with the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy.
YMCA officials had projected sales of around 65,886 tickets this year, but are about $30,000 off budget, compared to this time last year.
Officials said fewer guests are visiting the model house and supporters are assuming they have more time than they do to purchase raffle tickets for the March 28 drawing.
"January tends to be a slow time for us. People think of Easter House as something for Easter time, and they wait for the last minute to buy their tickets. The date of Easter changes every year, but they're usually not thinking of buying Easter House tickets until April, and by then the drawing would have already come and gone," Ms. Sutherland said.
"We're just trying to get the word out that the house is open for tours."
The model house is open for tours every day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is located at 2689 S.W. Gallery Circle, Palm Circle, off High Meadow Road. Customers who buy three tickets at a time are eligible to win a second prize of an eight-day, seven-night Caribbean cruise for two on the Norwegian Epic. That prize is worth $9,500 and is fully transferable.
For more information, call (877) 946-9622.