By MADELINE BUCKLEY - Follow me @Mabuckley88
South Bend Tribune
9:23 PM EST, November 28, 2012
SOUTH BEND -- With the Powerball jackpot up to $550 million Wednesday, residents flocked to local convenience stores for tickets, though perhaps surprisingly, not many said they would spend theoretical winnings on a trip around the world or BCS national championship tickets.
"I would start a youth football league," South Bend resident Jasmine Brown said outside of a gas station on Western Avenue.
Though first she would take care of her parents and set up college funds for her children, the 33-year-old mother said half a billion dollars could go a long way for the west side community.
"I'm working on trying to get grant money anyways," Brown said.
She hopes to get money for uniforms and equipment to give the youth in her west side neighborhood something to do.
Nationally, Associated Press reported that about 130,000 tickets were being sold every minute Wednesday.
Maybe it was the lingering effect of Thanksgiving, but many other local residents were charitable with their dreams of winning the jackpot.
"I would change the world, make it a better place to live," Todd Gardner, a local security guard, said enthusiastically in a convenience store on Olive Street.
If he won, Gardner said he would donate to his church and create programs to educate recent parolees.
"It's just a chance you take," he said. "I don't spend a bunch of money though."
Outside of the same Western Avenue gas station as Brown, another west side resident, Ike Parker, said he also bought tickets with the dream of putting the money back into his community.
The 37-year-old factory worker said he would establish a rec center for the community that has seen spates of shooting violence over the years.
"We need to find something for those kids to do," Parker said.
On the other side of town at a gas station near Ironwood Road, Thomas Klempay bought an iced drink and some lottery tickets.
"What the heck," he said. "I just bought a few of them."
A Coast Guard veteran who has literally traveled to the ends of the earth -- the Arctic Circle -- Klempay now is involved with his local American Legion post.
"I would help out the Legion," he said, adding that he would also give to the Boy Scouts if he won.
Despite their charitable hopes, these South Bend residents say they are spending very little money on the chance to win $550 million, though it's nice to dream.
Brown will continue working toward establishing her youth football league the conventional way -- by continuing with the grant applications.
"Half a billion dollars does sound enticing," she said.
Staff writer Madeline Buckley:
Copyright © 2013, South Bend Tribune