‘Split the Pot’ seller
The United Center’s “Split the Pot” raffle tickets don’t sell themselves. They require energetic and ubiquitous hawkers such as Lola Jefferson, who has been selling the tickets for 20 years, starting with the Bulls before adding the Hawks nine years ago.
Jefferson would stop, but where else can she feel as if she single-handedly raises $100,000 a year for great causes?
“I cannot give $100,000 to charity no matter how well I do,” she said.
The Hawks and Bulls raise money at each home game for their respective charitable foundations with the “Split the Pot” raffle, in which half the proceeds go to a single winner and half go to the foundation.
Tickets are available online, but Jefferson and other sellers walk up and down the aisles during games, just as vendors do selling beer and hot dogs.
Jefferson has sold the winning ticket multiple times, which she loves. And she has developed a relationship with her “regulars.”
A fan once grabbed her sign and started selling tickets for her. Another time, one wanted her to take a break so they could have a meal together. Another fan attempted to feed her some chocolate ice cream.
“That was the weirdest probably,” Jefferson said. “It was nice, it was friendly.”
The experience selling the “Split the Pot” tickets has changed Jefferson’s life — one of her customers helped her land a job in real estate, an industry in which she still works. So for Jefferson, it’s not really about making a few extra bucks. It’s about giving back and being in an environment that usually oozes positivity.
“You’re meeting a lot of fun, energetic people who love the Blackhawks,” Jefferson said. “It’s just fun to see. You feel that energy. It’s not just selling.”