Duck race for Project Backpack
Manawa event helps provide meals
By Ben Rodgers
Up to 2,000 ducks are ready to race and help fill backpacks with food in Manawa schools.
The Manawa PB Quackers Duck Race and Family Fun Day will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 3 at Lindsay Park.
At noon one person’s lucky rubber ducky will bring them home $1,000, while second place will take home $500 and third place will receive a gift basket.
“Remember the sooner you get your duck in the race, it can begin training to be the strongest swimmer, or floater, in the event,” said Saundra Coyle, event coordinator.
Coyle is hoping to sell all 2,000 ducks, with all proceeds going to the Manawa Project Backpack Team.
Currently the team fills 40 backpacks a week, every week during the school year, for students who may not be getting enough food.
The students take the food home over the weekends so they have enough to eat.
The ultimate goal of the duck race is to raise enough funds for the 40 students next year, and hopefully earn enough to add 10 students to the total.
For Coyle this event is about two things: The first is stamping out hunger one student at a time. The second is putting on a fun, family event that helps the cause.
“Mostly when you think about this day and age, we have less and less human interaction … even in grade school a lot of children are on their tablets, or even on Facebook or Instagram, which blows my mind,” Coyle said. “We don’t have old-fashioned fun and connect with people enough. This way they can play with their friends, come out and play for a little bit and they are helping a good cause. Plus it gets kids active.”
Coyle has a variety of things planned in addition to the duck race. Three different tournaments will be held, provided enough people sign up.
The tournament with the top prize is the Hoops Shoot Off. Participants have three options: the first is to pay a flat $5 fee and get pledges for every basket made, the the minimum donation being $1 per basket. The second would be a $5 fee with a flat donation, and the third would be $10 to participate.
Whoever makes the most shots from a set point in a 10-minute period will walk away with four Milwaukee Bucks tickets for next season. Coyle has room for 48 shooters in the tournament.
“The Milwaukee Bucks were very generous and they gave us a nice package,” she said.
The next tournament that will be at the event will be a kickball tournament.
Coyle has two fields that can host 16 teams each. One field will be for teams of children 12 and under, or families while the other will be for anyone 13 and older, including businesses.
The younger teams cost $5 to register while the older ones cost $20 to register.
Finally there will be a dodgeball tournament with room for 32 teams. Teams can be between 10-20 players and cost is $5 for a student and $10 for the adult leader on the student team.
Registration forms can be found online at www.manawapublicschools.org/manawa-pb-team.cfm.
“We’re trying to make it family fun and get kids involved, and if the kids partake in the sporting events they can get a sense of pride that they are helping the cause of stamping out childhood hunger,” Coyle said.
The day will also feature music from Megan Pethke, a country artist, from 10-11 a.m., David Landau, a children’s artist, from 11 a.m. to noon and Jeanne Bauer, a folk artist, from 1-2 p.m.
Aside from the music there will also be a variety of carnival style games for young kids with the cost being 25 cents per game, and other family friendly games, like giant Jenga or Connect Four.
People might also be able to find a deal at the event as well.
There will close to 40 booths for product and craft vendors, as well as booths for civic groups.
“We have something for everybody,” Coyle said. “We got the three sporting events, we got the three musical entertainers, we got more than 40 vendors and civic booths and the duck race at noon.”
Coyle would like to have all ducks sold and events registered for by May 31. Tickets for ducks are available at any of the schools, Sturm Memorial Library, First State Bank, Premier Community Bank, Bear Lake Resort, Winemaker’s Daughter, Keglers Bowling Center, TK Bar & Grill, Steve and Michelle’s Midtown and Cedar Springs Golf Course.
“If this event can generate interest and fun and proceeds for Project Backpack we could take this model and take it to the other school districts … to also help them raise funds for Project Backpack, and create community civic pride of everybody giving back to help the kids, and maybe something on this scale could put a dent into stopping hunger in our area schools,” Coyle said.