Fun, games and turkey dinner are a part of this year's Turkey Bingo hosted at the Elks Lodge.

The St. Maries Elks Lodge invites local residents to come play a few rounds of bingo for a chance to win a full turkey or chicken.

According to organizer Carol Sexton, the event has been a staple in the community around Thanksgiving for roughly 23 years and she expects it to continue to grow as she hands the torch off to the new organizer, Mary Skinner.

“The bingo event has definitely grown over the years,” Ms. Sexton said. “We usually have a full house from the time we start to when we end.”

Ms. Skinner said that this year they plan to try something different in regards to buying into games of bingo.

“This year we are incorporating tokens, to make things a little more consistent,” Ms. Skinner said. “Attendees can buy two games for one token. We'll have a station where people can buy tokens, that way our volunteers aren't having to collect change at the tables. It will be trial and error at first.”

Turkeys will be awarded to those who win. When there are simultaneous winners, they will compete to see who gets the full turkey with second place and under winning a full chicken.

Ms. Skinner said that the event will have more than 30 volunteers between servers and the kitchen staff. She said that the volunteer kitchen staff will be providing a full menu that night, including hot dogs and hamburgers.

She said that the profits from the event go toward the Elks annual Christmas Baskets, which they give out to residents throughout the area. Ms. Sexton said that the Turkey Bingo originally made so much money that they wanted a good cause to put the money toward.

Ms. Sexton said that throughout the years of her involvement, the Christmas baskets have had a huge impact on the community. The basket includes enough food to make a Christmas dinner and it features gifts for children in the families requesting the basket.

“We used to do around 100 baskets but now we are up to 250 to 300 baskets a year,” Ms. Sexton said.

She said that anyone can request a Christmas basket.

“Anyone can get one, even someone who could be potentially making $1000s a month. If they ask for a Christmas basket. they get one,” Ms. Sexton said. “We don't decide if someone is worthy or not, we get a person's name, they get a Christmas basket.”

The Elks Lodge Turkey Bingo will be on Saturday Nov. 16 from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. The event is all ages. Ms. Skinner said that they are still looking for volunteers and that those interested can contact her at the Elks Lodge.

For more information or to volunteer, call 208-245-1418.

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