Penny Wars officially began between student athletes, coaches and athletic staff members on Nov. 26. Around 450 people partook in this program to help sponsor a family in need.
“Penny Wars is a program that our Student Athlete Advisory Committee is doing to raise money for a family in the Des Moines area. Right now we have a four person family, a mom and four boys, and the money is raised to pay for some necessities they have and as well as some presents for the boys,” said Director of Compliance Cody Edwards.
Drake’s SAAC paired up with Children and Families of Iowa who picked a family in the area for Drake to sponsor. This is Drake’s first time sponsoring a family through Children and Families of Iowa, and it was suggested by Stephanie Viola, the director of student-athlete academic success services.
“What I like about it is that I wanted to find something to support a family for the holidays and instead of asking people for money we can be competitive. And since we’re in athletics, we like to be competitive,” Viola said. “Also, people get to get rid of their change which is helpful.”
Edwards and Viola hoped to raise around $1,000 for the family through penny wars. Each sports team and athletic staff members were divided up into three groups, and whichever group had the highest amount of pennies, including the negative points they receive through dollar bills and silver coins, won.
“I think the response (from the student-athletes and staff members) has been great, and just the fact that we are doing it all together, it’s not just a student athlete initiative or a staff initiative, and we are all doing it together,” Viola said. “Our people here have just wanted to give, and I appreciate that and them playing along with the game. To me, it’s the whole ‘Bulldog Way’ and what the athletic department should be about. I think it’s living what we preach every day and to just show the community that we are all in it together.”
The family’s wish list included pots, pans, shoes, towels and clothes and some video games for the boys. The SAAC will go out and purchase the items for the families with the money it received through penny wars and present the gifts to Children and Families of Iowa who will then give the gifts to the family.
“We are really excited that Drake student-athletes have this opportunity to help others in the Drake community,” said P3 student and rowing team member Brittney Smith. “We hope that we can raise enough and continue this tradition for years to come.”
The plan was that if the goal of $1,000 isn’t met, the senior athletic staff members would cover the remainder to reach the goal. By Nov. 30 it looked like they would have to shell out a lot to make the goal as only $415.17 was raised in the first four days of competition. However, $591.11 was donated on Dec. 1. The final total was $1,216.28, with $1,006.28 coming directly from the Penny Wars and the rest from some additional donors.
The winning team was Team Two, consisting of women’s rowing, men’s track and field, men’s cross country, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, student-athlete services, facilities, recreational services and ticketing, whose total was the least negative number, totaling at -$125.69.
As winners, a few individuals from Team Two will get to go shopping for the family.
“I’m very proud of our student athletes for wanting to make a difference in a family’s life around the holidays,” said Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb.