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Turkey Bingo aids 'Tots' campaign

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | November 24, 2021 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — It’s an event that combines the best of Thanksgiving while paying homage to the coming holiday season.

What are we talking about? Bingo, turkey bingo, that is.

While it is hard to say when bingo was given a turkey spin, bingo itself goes all the way back to 1530 when when it started in Italy in the form of a national lottery, according to bingo.org. Over the years, it was modified and adapted as it moved throughout Europe before captivating America as a carnival game called "beano" in the 1900s.

The game got its modern name when a toy salesman named Edwin Lowe overheard a beano player accidentally yell, "Bingo!," the website notes. Thinking it had a better ring to it, he changed the name of the game he was working on and invited friends over to test it out.

Soon the game evolved to have more squares, followed by requests by area churches for cards they could use to help raise money, causing the game to quickly grow in popularity.

The biggest bingo winner is a 60-year-old British grandfather, John Orchard, who claimed a $5.9 million pound prize in an online bingo game. His bet? Thirty pence (about 40 cents in today's dollars).

But for the Lions, the funds raised go to help them ensure Christmas is merry for every child in the community.

Through community support, the Lions are able to provide free new toys for children ages 1 to 10 and gift cards youths who are between the ages of 11 and 18 who live in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in-between. In addition, a Christmas dinner for the family is available.

Today’s generous donations come from the 120-plus people who turned out for the Sandpoint Lions' annual Turkey Bingo, which raised $1,118 for Toys for Tots. To date, the annual Christmas drive has raised $2,063.

The goal for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign is $50,000 — the same as it has been in past years. The Lions make the most of the money by bargain shopping, and with the assistance of generous local businesses.

Sign-up applications are available at the Bonner Community Food Bank and on the door of the Lions Den at 609 S. Ella Avenue right by the caboose in Lakeview Park. They can also be downloaded at bit.ly/3x7md4o.

Registration started Nov. 1 and ends on Dec. 17. Those filling out the application are reminded to be sure to fill out both pages and return your application promptly.

As last year, the application form includes information for parents to detail a wish list for each of their children as well as their favorite color and TV show or movie. This allows the Lions to fulfill as many wishes as they can.

Donations for Toys for Tots can be dropped off at the front desk at the Bonner County Daily Bee, 310 Church St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also drop off donations at Columbia Bank’s Sandpoint branch, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Bonner Mall Way; and at the Ponderay Starbucks.

Donations may be mailed to the Sandpoint Lions Club, Box 414, Sandpoint, ID 83864.

Donations made by check are preferred. Be sure to include a note with your check indicating that it is a Toys for Tots donation. If you wish to make an anonymous donation, please include a note.

If the donation is being made in someone’s name, be sure to also include a note.

Information: Sandpoint Lions Club, 208-263-4118