Valdosta Daily Times

April 27, 2014

Duck race raises funds to feed the needy

Matthew Woody
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Second Harvest of South Georgia held its 10th Annual Derby Duck Race at Wild Adventures Saturday. The weather was more than perfect for dumping 10,000 ducks into Wild Adventures’ Paradise River.

More than 4,500 yellow rubber ducks were sponsored. An individual could have bought one duck for $5, 5 ducks for $20, 12 ducks for $50, 25 ducks for $100 or 100 ducks for $400. Each sponsored duck equaled food for families in need.

“Each duck has a tangible effect; one duck can help provide 20 pounds of food for one family. It has a real positive impact in the area,” said Eliza R. McCall, chief marketing officer for Second Harvest. “It helps us, Second Harvest, provide food to those in need, and Wild Adventures is a gracious host, who allows us to come out here and put on this event.”

Laurie Windham, public relations manager for Wild Adventures, said Wild Adventures was more than happy to help Second Harvest with their goal of raising awareness and funds to help continue their efforts to end hunger and break the cycle of poverty in the area.

“Wild Adventures is all about having fun, but when people are going hungry, we have to do our part to take care of them,” Windham said.

Second Harvest calculated that one duck could feed a child a meal at its Kids Café program every day for a week; five ducks could provide an elderly person with lunch every day for a week; ten ducks could buy milk for 100 kids at our Kids Café every day for a week.

“One in four people in South Georgia don’t know where they will get their next meal. That’s more than 160,000 of our friends and neighbors who struggle with hunger on a daily basis,”  according to a Second Harvest press release. “Second Harvest of South Georgia serves 30 counties and is the region’s largest hunger-relief charity. Headquartered in Valdosta, the organization has locations in Albany, Douglas, and Thomasville in order to serve its 13,000 square mile service area. We distribute over 1,500,000 pounds of food per month and feed more than 2,500 kids a day. By supporting Second Harvest, you can have a real impact on the fight to end hunger in South Georgia.”

Before the 10,000 ducks were dumped, Second Harvest held its Corporate Duck race in the Paradise River, and lifeguards Emily Peavy, Noah Coil, Darby Buckley and Gary Kirkland followed the business-sponsored ducks around the pool, waving their pom-poms and chanting, “Hear me quack. Quack! Quack! Quack!”

McCall said they hold the corporate duck race to allow local businesses to participate in the day’s event. Although the business duck race was exciting, it did not compare to the sight of 10,000 ducks entering into the Paradise River all at once. So many ducks were in the water that the bottom could not be seen for a section of the river.

Twelve of the more than 4,500 individuals who adopted these ducks had the chance to win $5,000 or one of the other prizes.

In order, the 12 winners, and their prizes were: Walker, $5,000 cash from First State Bank; Natalie Noles, $2,500 shopping spree from Steel’s Jewelry; Jordan Gren, a golf cart from B&B Custom Carts; Kenneth Burnett, Sunset Farm Foods for a year; Kim Craft, quail hunt for two at Lenox River Ranch; David Carter, two season passes to Wild Adventures; Richard Bean, Chick-fil-A for a year; Rick Williams, Bruster’s Ice Cream for a year; Ferlisha Rountree, Staycation Weekend Package from Courtyard by Marriott; Tyler Aron, portrait and framing package from Wes Sewell and Classic Art & Frame; John Patten, Pepsi tailgate package; Christy Sermons, CrossFit Winnersville adult and youth membership for a month.