The Saline Area Chamber of Commerce and Busch's Fresh Foods Market gave away $2,000 in free groceries just before Christmas.
April Perez was the grand prize winner of the Saline Christmas Parade raffle. She received a $1,000 gift card. Ann and Emily Stofflet won a $500 gift card. Amy Holderbaum and Christine Ausmus each won a $250 gift card.
Perez's raffle ticket was a gift from her employers at Bemis Farms preschool.
"I cried when I found out. Tammy and Andy King from Bemis bought it for us. She came in crying too, when she told me that I won it," Perez said. "I have four kids, so $1,000 in groceries will definitely come in handy."
According to Saline Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Larry Osterling, the annual Christmas parade, presented by the chamber, costs about $17,000. The raffle covers 30 to 40 percent of the cost. He said Busch's support is vital to the parade.
Tickets were sold by volunteers camped out in the lobby at Busch's.
"This fundraiser for the chamber has been going on for a long time. They are beyond a grocery store," Osterling said, crediting store manager Mike VanWormer. "I can't say enough about Mike VanWormer. He's Mr. Community for all kinds of causes. But the fact that he lets us in to set up says a lot about the Busch's organization. They are very community-oriented. I'm proud to say they are a partner."
Osterling also thanked the volunteers who sold tickets and the people who bought tickets.
"It's fun when you're selling tickets. Just about everyone you know in the community comes into Busch's at some point. So you'll see a lot of friends you might not see very often. And a lot of people buy tickets, two or three times, just to support the Christmas Parade," he said.
Osterling said this year's parade was perhaps it's most successful, generating a lot of positive publicity for Saline.