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Farmington's other Turkey Bingo is Saturday

If you didn't win a turkey at the fire department's Turkey Bingo last Saturday, your odds just might be a little better this weekend at St. Michael's Catholic Church.

The St. Michael's Knights of Columbus Council 2400 is holding its annual Turkey Bingo Saturday night. They've been doing their own -- albeit, smaller -- Turkey Bingo for eight years to raise money for local charities.

For the fourth year in a row, proceeds from the KC event will benefit the Farmington Food Shelf. As a Catholic fraternal nonprofit charitable organization, the Knights of Columbus donates some funding to seminarians and youth groups, but they also serve a number of charitable organizations within the community, Farmington Knights of Columbus publicity chair Dave Welch said. A few years back, the local council started seeing families in need of assistance during the holiday season, so they decided to help the food shelf.

"You don't think of Farmington as a community that is going to need a lot, but there are families that may need (help) that year," Welch said. "There is always going to be a need, no matter what size the community. There are always going to be people who struggle. We just try to do our part and help out as much as we can."

And so they have. Last year, the Knights of Columbus turkey Bingo raised about $1,700 for the Farmington Food Shelf. The KCs also donated about 50 frozen turkeys for local families. The hope this year, Welch said, is to be able to donate at least as much as last year.

Saturday's activity starts after the 4:30 p.m. Mass is over, sometime around 5:30 p.m., when a sloppy Joe dinner will be served. Bingo starts when the dinner wraps up, probably sometime close to 6:30 p.m. Welch expects the games to run until around 9 p.m.

The Knights of Columbus does two Bingo fundraisers each year, he said. They give away a lot more turkeys during turkey Bingo in the fall - about 30 frozen birds will go out as prizes Saturday - but give out more prizes during a spring spaghetti dinner and Bingo event held at the church.

"We always get such a good response from Bingo. I think people just enjoy playing Bingo and the community of it all," Welch said.

It's fun for the Knights of Columbus members, too, Welch said. About 20 members participate in the event. Some are there for just a few hours of set up. Others like to stick around through the whole evening. Regardless, the members donate about 80 hours of time to the event.

Though the fire department holds its Turkey Bingo Party the week before, Welch said the FFD's event has never cut into the church's event. The Knights of Columbus try to schedule their event on different weekends, plus they draw support from many of St. Michael's parishioners and from other congregations, as well.

But that doesn't mean you have to belong to St. Michael's to come play Bingo this weekend. The public is welcome to participate, and maybe win a turkey along the way.

"The proceeds go to a non-faith based organization. It's not to any Catholic organization. It's really just for the good of the community. Anybody who likes bingo can come," Welch said. "It's a lot of fun -- especially when they start to win."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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