Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme

Raffle drawing surprises Oak View woman, three sisters

Posted in Uncategorized by BGCOP Staff on January 10, 2012

When an Oak View woman and three of her sisters pitched in to buy two $150 raffle tickets in the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme’s Million Dollar Raffle, they didn’t expect much.

Then came the phone call.

Maria Hernandez, a youth social worker, was in between sessions when she listened to a voice mail. Her heart dropped.

“My kids go to the Boys and Girls Club,” said the 39-year-old. “All I heard was ‘this is the director of the Boys and Girls Club’ and I immediately thought something was wrong. Then I listened to the rest of the message. I am still in shock.”

It turns out they won the first place prize of $10,000 in the Raffle’s early-bird drawing and are still in contention for the grand prize drawing in June.

The four sisters split the winnings equally and according to Hernandez, the money couldn’t have come at a better time.

Their mother, Epifania’s, health declined drastically last year, so Hernandez decided to serve as her primary caregiver. She and her three sisters, along with their five other siblings, found themselves paying not only for her care but also for her funeral expenses after she passed away in May at the age of 70.

Money had become tight.

In addition, Hernandez and her husband were approaching the due date for their commercial property taxes. They weren’t sure where the money was going to come from.

“It was amazing how it worked out,” Hernandez said. “I’m not sure what we would have done.”

The $2,500 cut also helped keep the opening of the Hernandez family’s new store on track.

On Saturday The Green Closet, an Oak View thrift store focusing on promoting the recycling and reuse of products, will open to the public.

“I try to teach my kids the importance of taking care of the environment and getting away from what I call ‘stuffidous,'” said the mother of four.

Her work as a counselor, she considers, her trade. But The Green Closet, and the Mexican bakery and taco shop she plans to open in the same building in the future, are her passion — her meaningful living a little closer to home.

A second-place prize of $2,500 was awarded to Jane and Vincent Lee of Burbank. Three $500 prizes were awarded to Oxnard residents John Koger, Rodney Wagoner, and Robert and Roxana Chappell. According to Boys & Girls Club officials, the Chappells donated their winnings back to the club. With a total of $15,000 in prizes in the early bird raffle, and a total of more than 205 prizes, the Boys and Girls Club extended ticket sales through June 8. Two more early-bird drawings will be held before the final drawing on June 11 that will feature three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart as the event spokesperson.

“We are excited and grateful for Tony’s endorsement,” said Dick Elzinga, chief volunteer officer for the club. “Our ticket sales need the boost and our club needs the raffle revenue to meet the increase in demand for our programs that keep children safe and on the path for success in life.”

More information about the raffle can be found at

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