WESTFIELD — When Cooper McNamara made the Westfield High School varsity football team as a freshman this year, he came home with a uniform that had a tear in the pants.
His mother Melanie McNamara offered to sew it, but he declined, and she said she wasn’t too worried because she didn’t think he would see much action. But Cooper, who had years of experience in Westfield Youth Football, started as a linebacker and tight end and played the entire season. After a long season that included a run into the state playoffs, they were both convinced the WHS Bombers were in desperate need of new uniforms.
Knowing that his mother has done a lot of fundraising for other organizations, he asked what they could do. Melanie McNamara approached Bombers coach Robert Parent and asked him. The coach said they’d been trying for the last couple of years to get new uniforms, but only had so much in their budget, and they have to rely on the Booster Club, which is working on other projects.
She also learned that high school athletic teams have a lot of rules around fundraising. Students cannot sell tickets, fundraisers cannot be mandated, and proceeds have to go to the Athletic Department, not just to one sport. So she decided to start a fundraiser of her own and raffle off a PlayStation 5 video game console.
For youth football, the volunteers had held a purse bingo event, and McNamara had also raffled off a Louis Vuitton purse separately, and raised almost $6,000 for the team. Instead of a purse, Cooper encouraged his mother to raffle off the PlayStation 5, which is a hot holiday gift this year.
“This season everyone is going crazy for it, because there are not a lot of them. That’s why we decided on a PlayStation 5 rather than a purse; and rather than do an event, to do a raffle,” Melanie McNamara said. Her goal is to once again to raise $6,000, approximately half the amount needed for new uniforms. Current uniforms are six years old, but they have seen a lot of wear and tear, she said.
Tickets to win the PS5, which includes one game along with the console, are $20 each or three for $50, which she points out is a bargain for the winner of the item most in demand this season.
“All you need is one ticket to win,” she says on her posts which are spreading on local social media platforms, adding, “All of the donations will go towards uniforms for the WHS football team. That is still a win. Drawing is approaching fast. Don’t miss out.”
McNamara is taking donations for the tickets through Venmo at venmo.com/u/Melanie-McNamara-9. Anyone sending in a donation must also send their email and contact information to [email protected] to be entered into the electronic drawing, or to arrange another way to purchase tickets. The drawing will be held on Dec. 22 between 1 and 2 p.m., and McNamara said she will deliver the PlayStation locally or make other arrangements.
McNamara said she is running the fundraiser as an independent parent, and is not a member of the WHS Bombers Booster Club, although the Boosters are helping her to spread the word.