PITTSFIELD -- Sally Rice doesn’t normally enter contests, and only rarely plays the lottery.
So imagine how surprised Rice was Wednesday night when she received a telephone call, and was told that she had won a new car.
"Oh my God, I thought it was a joke," said the 47-year-old Rice, who lives in Peru. "I couldn’t believe it."
Rice won a 2014 Nissan Versa when her name was picked from the more than 7,000 people who have donated to the Berkshire United Way’s 2013 Campaign Drive.
The drawing took place during a Berkshire Chamber of Commerce function at the Greylock Federal Credit Union on West Street. Outgoing Chamber President and CEO Michael Supranowicz drew the winning entry. The car drawing contest is a staple of the Berkshire United Way’s annual campaign drives.
Rice, who works as a bordering artist at Crane’s stationery facility in North Adams, didn’t attend Wednesday night’s gathering because she didn’t know the drawing was going to take place.
"I did see images online of five huge garbage bags full of tickets to pick," she said. "(But) I don’t usually have a strong streak of good luck like this."
Employed at Crane for 16 years, Rice said she is an annual donor to the Berkshire United Way.
"I wasn’t even thinking of the contest," said Rice, who also operates a small art studio on North Street. "I was just hoping to donate to a good cause.
"Even my co-workers get a kick out of me because even when I get a ticket in the lottery, if I win I get so excited and jump up and down," Rice said. "But I’m not much of a person for scratch tickets or contests or anything like that so it’s a big deal for me."
Following the phone call, Rice said she gradually realized winning the car wasn’t a joke because friends at the drawing began sending her emails.
"I’m still in shock," Rice said.
"We caught her completely off-guard," Berkshire United Way President and CEO Kristine Hazzard said.
The Berkshire United Way is hoping to raise $2.8 million through its 2013 Campaign Drive, which ends in June. It has raised $1.4 million in donations that have been processed so far, according to BUW spokesman Jonah Sykes.
Rice has the option of either accepting the car or receiving $10,000. She hadn’t decided as of Thursday.
The Nissan Versa was donated by the Johnson Dealerships of Pittsfield and the Greylock Federal Credit Union.