By Stuart Jones
Meals on Wheels of Alamance County held its eighth annual Duck Race last Sunday where they raced 7,000 rubber ducks in the pool to raise money to
provide meals for senior citizens of Alamance County.
“37 ducks are chosen as winners of the race and 10 are chosen at random for random prizes,” says Anne Baker, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Alamance County. “We sold 5,935 ducks at $5 a piece which is good but not our best, especially with the economy. We started selling late, so we are really happy with the results.”
Typically Meals on Wheels aims to raise between $20,000 and $30,000 from the duck race each year. “It all goes to purchasing meals for seniors who are incapacitated and home-bound,” says Dawson Rouse, a member of the executive board for Alamance County’s Meals on Wheels. “We deliver around 330 meals a day in Alamance County alone. So it does a lot of good for a lot of people that don’t have anybody else.”
This all takes place in the pool of the Burlington YMCA which is divided in half with a lane rope and then all 7,000 rubber ducks are added. The shallow end of the pool is made into a bottle-neck with linked together pool noodles and a small opening is left for the ducks to float through one at a time. They are encouraged along by two volunteers who spray them with hoses from the other end of the pool until all 37 winners have made it past the finish line. Baker records the winning ducks’ numbers on a spreadsheet as they come across the finish line.
“It’s a lot of fun but it feels like a long time from start to finish. It’s quite the adrenalin rush. Even though it’s only 15 minutes long, it feels like forever,” says Baker. “The duck race is a great way to bring the community together. We have volunteers from local Boy Scout troops, Elon students and the board members come out every year to help in the pool.”
“This is the one thing all board members have to do every year. This is our big deal: the duck race. It’s also a lot of fun,” says Rouse.
First place this year was People’s Memorial Church who won the grand prize of $2,500. In second place, having only bought one duck was Crystal Burton.