ARC’s ‘Great Home Giveaway’

The stateline’s “biggest” fund-raising event, The ARC’s Great Home Giveaway, kicks off Saturday, July 19 at 505 Indian Dancer Trail, Belvidere, with the Parade of Homes, which runs through July 27. Weekend hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday during the Parade and every Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. until the Oct. 16 grand prize drawing.

This year’s “raffle house” is a three-bedroom ranch and was built below cost by Tom Howlett Construction and is located in the Riverbend North Subdivision, Belvidere (just off Business Rt. 20 near the Lincoln Elementary School). The 1,800-square foot home is loaded with features including a large master suite with walk-in closet, great room with cathedral ceilings and fireplace, eat-in kitchen, formal dining area, maintenance-free exterior, tubular skylights, Pella Windows, central air, security system, large first-floor laundry room, two-car attached garage with built-in storage units, and is accessible with ramp walk and 36-inch doors and halls.

The Grand Prize Drawing will be Oct. 16, with the winner announced live during WTVO-17’s 6 p.m. newscast. New this year is a second-place prize—a $3,500 six-person hot tub from Softub of Northern Illinois. The ARC will also offer two “Early Bird” drawings—Aug. 14 and Sept. 18. At each drawing, five winners will receive CherryVale Mall gift certificates. A total of $2,000 in certificates will be awarded. All 10 Early Bird winners will still be eligible for the October house drawing.

This year’s theme—“You Win—You Choose”—addresses the most commonly asked question from ticket purchasers: “Do I have to live in the house?” Each year the winner can move in, sell, rent or give away.

Proceeds benefit The ARC of Winnebago, Boone, and Ogle counties and stay in the three-county area to help The ARC support people with intellectual, mental and developmental disabilities, their families and the community.

“Our goal is to sell 13,000 of the 18,000 available tickets during this year’s fund-raiser,” said ARC Executive Director Raymone Hughes. “We rely on the public to see that this is a win-win situation. They get a chance at the American Dream—home ownership, and The ARC is able to continue its work with persons with disabilities in the three-county area.”

Starting this Saturday, the $20 raffle tickets can be purchased at the following locations: National City Bank, Value City Furniture, Cub Foods, Logli Supermarkets, Tom Howlett Construction, Al Grace Appliance, Shelving Unlimited, WTVO-17, Belvidere Pacemaker, Oregon Super Value, and The ARC office (400 N. First St., Rockford). Tickets can also be purchased at the Open Houses or by calling The ARC office at 965-3455, ext. 0.

“The ARC could not hold a successful event without the help of sponsors, contributors, and dozens of supporters,” said Lisa Bartholme, event coordinator. “This year’s major sponsors are WTVO, Tom Howlett Construction, Value City Furniture, and National City Bank.”

“In addition to our major sponsors, there are numerous local companies who donate material and labor to the house,” added Bartholme. “It is worthwhile to visit the house on the weekends to see how their donations really make this house a ‘home.’”

The ARC will hold “Open House” drawings for more than 25 donated items, which are on display at the “raffle house” during the parade and regular open houses. Tickets are $1 each, three for $2, or eight for $5, with the winners drawn Oct. 16 following the house drawing.

For more information about The ARC or to see a Great Home Giveaway “Virtual Tour,” visit

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