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Democrat Photo by Nathan Mayberg

MARIA FAITELL OF Liberty easily found $500 worth of merchandise to purchase – courtesy of Liberty ALIVE and the shopping spree raffle she won – at Garry’s Great American grocery store in Liberty Sunday morning.

How Do You Spend
$500? Very Fast . . .

By Nathan Mayberg
LIBERTY — November 25, 2003 – Maria Faitell had three minutes to spend a $500 award at Great American in Liberty last Sunday morning.
She spent the full $500 (plus tax) on meat, cookies, cereal, cat food, coffee, juice and other goods.
The shopping spree was paid for by ALIVE, Liberty’s Sullivan Renaissance chapter, who raised the money through a raffle throughout the community over four months.
Faitell, of Liberty, paid ten dollars for her raffle ticket and said, “I didn’t think I was going to win. I was shocked when I did.”
After rushing up and down the aisles of Garry’s Great American, Faitell said she was "hot and sweaty."
She is the mother of two children, ages five and 13. One of them is currently in foster care. When asked where she was going to put all of her food, she said she would find space for it.
Dianne Brady, treasurer for ALIVE and employee of HSBC Bank, said she could "get a safety deposit box."
Faitell has been working at SullivanARC for "a long time." She has been working in an assembly line in Monticello for the last seven months.
Gary Siegel, vice president of ALIVE, joked, "You could’ve gone into training for this."
The money raised from the raffle will go towards downtown beautification projects, said Siegel. They are currently working on a skating rink at the Liberty Elementary School’s baseball field with other groups, including Rotary, Kiwanis, the school and the village.
The group is also deciding how best to use the Golden Feather Award, a $50,000 grant from the Sullivan Renaissance program, which was secured through the late Assemblyman Jake Gunther.
Jane Neufeld, fundraising coordinator for the group, said, "I’m so thrilled that somebody who could use it won. She was beside herself when she won. It’s great. Everything we raise is for the beautification of Liberty."
Neufeld described how Brady and she spent four months of weekends sitting in front of Great American selling raffle tickets.
The group intends to raffle off a shopping spree again next year.
Before Faitell took off with the three ALIVE volunteers to bring home her food, she added, "Usually when I go shopping, it lasts me a month. This will last me a few months."

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