Morning showers on Opening Day have become a KC tradition, but today’s rain cleared out early enough that it didn’t put a damper on Greater Kansas City Day.
“This is my ninth year in a row doing this and I think the eighth year that has rained on us,” said Andy Metzler of Kansas City.
Metzler was one of more than 1,000 volunteers who spread out across the area this morning selling special editions of The Kansas City Star as part of Greater Kansas City Day.
The event raises money for the Rotary Youth Camp Foundation as well as other children’s charities that benefit disabled and disadvantage youth.
Greater Kansas City Day is a collaboration involving The Kansas City Star, the Royals and area Rotary Clubs and coincides with the Royals’ home opener.
“It’s a blast to do this,” Metzler said. “The Rotary does such a great job with the youth camp. It is a great cause and everybody is usually in a great mood even though it is 6 o’clock in the morning and you’re trying to sell papers.”
Greater Kansas City Day is on pace to raise $140,000 to $150,000 this year through its advance sales, corporate sponsorship and Friday’s sales, said Paul Searcy, president of the board for the Rotary Youth Camp and a member of the Greater Kansas City Day steering committee.
“It’s our 25th year, so it is a really exciting year for us,” said Searcy, retail and sponsorship sales manager for The Star. “The weather held off and helped increase our fundraising over last year.”
The presenting sponsors this year were Professional Paint and Coatings and Benjamin Moore Paints. They contributed $15,000.
A new aspect this year is online donor pages that people can set up. For each dollar raised through their donor pages, people receive an entry for a $10,000 giveaway. The winner will be drawn May 24. For more information, go to theGreater Kansas City Day website
Metzler’s father, Rob Metzler of Kansas City, said that more than 50 youth organizations use the Rotary Youth Camp, which has an Olympic-sized, wheelchair-accessible pool.
“It gives every child in Kansas City an opportunity to spend a week at summer camp,” said Metzler, who started as a corner captain when Greater Kansas City Day began.
He now oversees the whole Midtown area, and says it’s still fun, even when the weather’s wet.
“It’s amazing in the pouring down rain how many people will roll down their window to help you out,” he said. “People in Kansas City are very generous.”
This was the second year that Libby Huff and Julie Lucito, who both work at the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Kansas City, said there is a trick to selling the papers.
“You got to yell and you have to get into the middle of the street,” Lucito said.
“You gotta charm them,” Huff added. She prefers to yell: “Get your paper! Extra! Extra!”
Alex Petrovic of Prairie Village said eye contact is a key to selling the paper. He said you have to look right at people to get their attention.
Gender also seems to have an impact, he said.
“Women give more than men. They give more often and bigger dollars. Men should be opening wallets and giving us some bucks.”