With the first leaves falling and a cool crispness to the air, it’s definitely getting fall-like out here at the Sanctuary. And that means it’s time to start thinking about our winter hay & straw raffle. Every year, we put $8,000 worth of food & bedding into our loft to do us for the winter, and this year is no exception. The only difference now is that our fundraising raffle is bigger & better than ever. Don’t believe me? You will once you check out this top 10 list of reasons this raffle rocks.

1. Lots of prizes

There are 25 amazing prizes to be won, but you only buy tickets on the prizes you really want. That’s right, you can purchase your entries for specific prizes (all 25 of them) so you won’t end up with a prize that you really don’t want or need.

2. Increase your chances of winning!

The $5 price pays for 10 entries for the prize you want. Also, as the $ increments go up, so do your chances to win! For example, $10=25 entries, $15=40 entries, and $20=55 entries.

3. Amazing experiences

I love me some great experiences—and this prize list has a LOT of them. Niagara Falls, animal sanctuary tours, a catered private dinner, museums, art galleries, beer tastings…even the Hockey Hall of Fame! It’s amazing to me that a simple $5 raffle ticket could win you a day trip that you’ll remember forever. 

4. Hair

You probably don’t think of it that often (or maybe you do?), but hair is the accessory you wear All. The. Time. Why not make it fun? Perhaps the best prize available (in my opinion!) is from Deeva Hair in Kitchener, who are experts at vibrant colour transformations, flattering styles and cutting-edge cuts that will have you or someone you love looking like a million bucks! Considering resident expert Tori usually charges upwards of $200 for this makeover service, this prize is a real steal.

5. Food

If you’re a foodie like I am, you like trying new things. And that includes previously snubbed treats because of preconceived notions. I’ve dabbled in vegan cuisine before and was surprised at how good it tasted given that it’s made with strictly plant-based ingredients. So, if I can try out some new items (from professionals, no less!) AND purchase them online with a gift card and have them delivered? Yup. Sign me up. (Or in this case, buy me tickets on the four gift card prizes available).

6. Lust-worthy prizes for your home

HGTV-addict here. I’m forever finding little elements to make my home more…homey. And there are multiple prizes here that I’m lusting over. One of my fave Toronto shops, Spruce, has a multi-piece package (luxurious Turkish Towel, anyone?), a sweet little shop called Temptations in Hanover offered up a $100 gift card (and you use it to can buy off their website!), plus a local artist donated not one, but TWO adorable, handcrafted signs that would look great in my house! 

7. Baskets, baskets and more baskets.

Is there anything better than a gift basket? I don’t think so. I love the feeling of excitement when I open one and discover all kinds of treasures, big and small, inside. It usually means I can keep the stuff I want and re-gift a few nuggets for upcoming birthdays without anyone being the wiser (did I just sell myself out?). There are three fantastic baskets available (and you can bet I’ve purchased tickets for all of them): Gorgeous, all-natural body products by Nature’s Basics from Ava; a stellar line-up of dog-pampering treats & toys from Groomtastics; and a delicious-looking kitchen package (worth $145!) from foodie-heaven, Epicure. 

8. Booze.

And in the form of a gift card, that’s the best kind to win. I mean, where else could you magically transform $5 into a $50 LCBO gift card? Right here, my friends.

9. Brand merchandise.

I don’t know about you, but I really do love to wear items of clothing that have a logo or name to support everything from charities to friends’ businesses to my favourite cheeky brand names. Well, look no further. Besides the obvious Carroll’s Animal Sanctuary and Rescue baseball shirts and hoodies up for grabs, one of my fave Toronto vegan grocery stores – Good Rebel – donated a hat and bag combo that is giving me life. They sport their perpetually cool chick-with-a-mohawk mascot and are impossibly cute for a quick trip to the store.

10. A storybook about a kitten.

I mean, would any fundraiser for animals be complete without an adorable prize like this? What makes “Bad Kitten” so special is that it was written by local Hanover author, Ellen Rumsey, and it tells a story that hits close to home. The Sanctuary runs a kitten rescue and have re-homed literally hundreds of kittens just like this one, making it a true happily ever after ending for everyone involved.

And there you have it! If one of these reasons doesn’t sway you in buying a ticket in our Hay & Straw Raffle, you’ll just have to be happy with the fact that you’re helping countless animals live a wonderful life out here at the sanctuary…which, honestly, is the best reason of all.