Every year for the past 12, the association has sold raffle tickets as a means of supporting the club, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church (with which it is affiliated) and charities such as Telemiracle, the Canadian Cancer Society and Two Miles for Mary.
But new challenges are raising the question of how long that tradition can continue.
“This year, sales have been a little lighter,” PAUOMA secretary Eugene Gryba said Saturday at the Gateway Mall.
“There are certain venues that are really good for ticket sales. Canadian Tire is usually very good. But we haven’t had that many weeks now this year. There’s a lot of competition for these spaces, and Zellers were exceptional to us. We had weeks of the sales at Zellers.
“Of course, Zellers is disappearing, so we don’t know what we’re going to do next year.”
The raffle is the association’s major activity and fundraiser each year. Members generally begin selling tickets the first week of October and continue until January.
The grand prize at the 2013 raffle was an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), as has been the case for several years. Runners-up received either a $100 prize, or a 24-piece candle pack and $50 gift certificate from Ben’s Auto & House Glass.
“We started out with a Ski-Doo at one time,” association member Vern Heringer said. “But we switched over to the ATV.”
Gryba estimated that each year, the raffle brings in a gross of approximately $15,000. With tickets selling at $2 a pop, or three for $5, that means a lot of work on the ground for members.
The PAUOMA has approximately 20 paying members and an additional 15 people that support the group’s activities. There is also a corresponding women’s association.
Like many service clubs in Prince Albert, PAUOMA has faced dwindling membership in recent years due to demographic and cultural changes.
We're struggling, but we're hanging on. - Eugene Gryba
“In terms of young members, I mean, I’m in my 70s and I’m not one of the older members,” Gryba said with a chuckle. “So we’re an aging club. It’s getting more and more difficult. People are passing on and we’re not getting all that many young people joining, though we do have some people who support us as much as they can. They’ve got families, their kids are involved in sports.
“Most families nowadays are very busy, and at one time, much of their activity would have revolved around the church and things like the men’s association. That’s no longer true. They have very many interests and activities that their children are involved in that are not at all affiliated with the church in any way.
“So we’re struggling, but we’re hanging on. It just means that those of us who are involved spend more days selling tickets or doing whatever has to be done.”
Getting involved with the club is as easy as showing up to the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church on any given Sunday or contacting members.
Aside from its annual raffle and weekly brunches hosted by the men’s association, the most prominent yearly activity of PAUOMA is its Ukrainian New Year’s Eve celebration -- also known as Malanka -- which falls on Jan. 13.
Traditional festivities surrounding the holiday were absent from P.A. in 2013, but Gryba described this year’s missing Malanka as a temporary hiccup.
“Just (for) a variety of reasons, we didn’t have one this year,” he said. “But I think we’ll be back again next year.”
Winners at Saturday’s raffle included Jane Arcand for the ATV, Charlie Goertzen and Kaitlyn Gryba for the $100 prizes, and Don Leduc for the gift pack.