Once the shock that they had actually won the $1 million Idaho Raffle started to wear off, the families involved began to think about what sort of lesson they could impart to their children.
“We asked, ‘What are we going to do to have our kids associate this with more than material things?’ ” said Louis Massoth, the son-in-law of Luella Rowe, who had the winning ticket.
Their collective decision was to buy $10,000 worth of food, and then have their children and their friends deliver it to The Idaho Foodbank.
On Friday, Jan. 10, they spent the afternoon turning that idea into reality. The first stop was at Costco in Nampa, where the store gave them a dedicated line to check out. At the Foodbank, the whole group chipped in to unload nearly 6,000 pounds of much-needed food and non-food items. And because the actual total at checkout was “only” $9,500, the families added a $1,000 check.
Altogether, this extraordinary donation will provide about 4,500 meals.
Luella Rowe, her daughter Krista Massoth and Louis’ mother, Gainelle Massoth, live with their families on a hay farm west of Caldwell and have bought tickets together for years. This year they bought 11, and Luella held the winner – a 1-in-250,000 chance. They had always agreed if one of them ever hit the jackpot they would split the proceeds.
But first they wanted to teach their children, and their children’s friends, how fortunate they really are.
Louis Massoth said the seed was planted recently when he helped his daughter, Emily, write a paper on poverty.
“We focused on the difference between the notion of poverty here and poverty overseas,” he said. “One of the things we looked at was food insecurity.
“We live comfortably. When all this happened, our thought was that we could make an impression on the kids in a way that would stay with them the rest of their lives. We wanted this to be a gift from the raffle winners, their friends and family.”
There seems to be little doubt of that. After all, how often do you get a chance to help so many people in such a fundamental way?
Our deep thanks to the winners’ families and all the friends who helped them. This was truly a lesson in generosity for all of us.