West Des Monies -- What do thousands of rubber ducks, lots of cash and prizes, and a pond have to do with the welfare of children in Central Iowa? The answer is, “YESS.” It stands for Youth Emergency Services and Shelter. It's the organization that benefits from the annual "Duck Derby" held at Jordan Creek Town Center
People participate in the event by purchasing rubber ducky bath toys that are numbered and raced across the pond . It gives people a chance to dream of what they would do with the $10,000 grand prize, if their duck were to reach the finish line first. "I'd buy a barge and then fill it up with candy and have it delivered to my house!" said Ben Fahrenkrug of Waukee
The fifth-annual event broke another record for the number of ducks purchased. 38,000 of them were dumped into the pond from a large truck, after the bugler from Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino played the call to post. Other prizes for the top 10 finishers included a year's worth of free groceries from Dahl's, a landscape makeover from Ted Lare Design Build, shopping sprees, and an iPad.
Aviva USA was this year's presenting sponsor. President and CEO Chris Littlefield says today's real winners are the children who rely on the shelter that receives the profits from the event. "YESS is one of those organizations that does a phenomenal job of working with kids and helping those kids who need a hand up. So, that's why we have chosen to help YESS."
The youth shelter provides a safe temporary home for children ages birth-to-17. Tonight, it will house and feed 52 kids from Central Iowa for a variety of reasons, often because their parents have been arrested and charged with crimes and there is no one left to care for them. YESS helps more than a thousand children each year.