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Annual duck race raises money for Bridgeport Food Pantry

The fifth annual “Don’t Duck Hunger” duck race was held this weekend to benefit the Bridgeport Food Pantry Saturday, Sept. 7.  Though this year’s totals were not available at press time, the fundraiser, the pantry’s largest every year, typically raises about $25,000. Pictured, volunteers dump the plastic ducks used in the race out onto the pavement in the parking lot behind St. Francis Church to dry after pulling them out of Chittenango Creek.

The fifth annual “Don’t Duck Hunger” duck race was held this weekend to benefit the Bridgeport Food Pantry Saturday, Sept. 7. Though this year’s totals were not available at press time, the fundraiser, the pantry’s largest every year, typically raises about $25,000. Pictured, volunteers dump the plastic ducks used in the race out onto the pavement in the parking lot behind St. Francis Church to dry after pulling them out of Chittenango Creek.

— More than 5,200 ducks took to Chittenango Creek in a race for more than glory — these ducks raced to raise money for the Bridgeport Food Pantry, which serves families in the towns of Cicero, Manlius and Sullivan. The Don’t Duck Hunger duck race, the brainchild of food pantry coordinator Patti Hedrick, typically raises about $25,000 for the pantry and is its major annual fundraiser; totals for this year’s race were not yet available at press time.

The first place duck, purchased by Adam Newton, wins $1,000; second place, held by Larry DeSalvation, wins $500; third and fourth place, purchased by John Valenti and Doreen McCoy, respectively, take home $250 each, though prize winners often opt to donate their winnings back to the pantry.

After fourth place, the top 45 placers net prizes from a Weber grill to nights at local hotels to spa days to Mary Kay makeovers, all donated by local businesses.

Hedrick credited several volunteers with helping to put together the event: Marie Behr, who handles food; Carol Benedict, who is in charge of advertising; Rachel Smith and her crew, who handle fundraising; Jeannette Suckewski; Kay Van Wie, the ticket coordinator; and Priscilla Williams, who is in charge of the kids’ games.

“They’re just a fabulous crew,” she said. “I am eternally grateful to them.”

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