How a chocolate football made our year

August 14th, 2015


Last February, Dollar Energy Fund received more coverage, awareness and funds from a piece of chocolate than we could have ever imagined; probably more than Bill Sarris of Sarris Candies in Canonsburg, Pa., could have imagined when he designed a 2.5-pound, slightly deflated chocolate football.

When news broke that the New England Patriots allegedly used underinflated footballs during their AFC championship game victory in early 2015, Sarris Candies made a light-hearted jab at the Steelers’ rival team by creating a deflated chocolate football.

How did that chocolate football gain more than 1.4 million unique Twitter impressions, 1.4 million impressions on Yahoo and 1.3 million Twitter accounts reached?

After creating it, Bill Sarris generously dedicated the football for raffle and named Dollar Energy Fund, one of the nations’ largest hardship funds, the beneficiary of all proceeds. It was auctioned off on air with Marty Griffin of KDKA-AM on Friday, January 30. Sarris pledged a match of up to $5,000 for the winning bid, which came in at $5,000 from local businessman Richard Bazzy of Shults Ford.

That’s $10,000 for a hunk of milk chocolate; but it gets better.

Since Dollar Energy Fund’s utility partners match all donations dollar-for-dollar, the auction resulted in $20,000 to be distributed to as many as 65 families who were in need of utility assistance. These families and individuals, many working or retired, are often first-time Dollar Energy Fund grant applicants who are struggling to restore or maintain safe utility service. The football was able to help these local families in a very real, immediate way.

In addition to the funds raised and the enormous social media reach, the funny-turned-amazing story about a chocolate football and the auction was featured by print and broadcast outlets both across the nation and beyond.  The exposure brought new donors, friends and partners to Dollar Energy Fund, where we continue to work every day to generate and distribute utility assistance grants to limited-income clients across the country.

If you would like to donate to Dollar Energy Fund, click here. You can also donate through your utility bills by “checking the box,” or by sending donations directly to Box 42329, Pittsburgh, PA 15203.

For more information about Dollar Energy Fund and the more than 441,000 families we’ve served, click here.

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