Lions ready for Toys for Tots drive

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PONDERAY — 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. The annual event is not only a fan favorite in the community, it benefits a great cause as well — the Sandpoint Lions’ Toys for Tots program.

This year, the Lions will host Turkey Bingo on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23 in the Bonner Mall. On Friday, bingo will start at 6 p.m. and go until 8 p.m. On Saturday, bingo will start at noon and go until 4 p.m.

There will be lots of prizes for the bingo winners and some very nice raffle prizes. In addition, the Lions will be selling popcorn, hot dogs and drinks during both days.

If you’ve never taken the time to enjoy a few rounds of turkey bingo, you’re missing out.

Each year, the Sandpoint Lions head out to the Bonner Mall in Ponderay and take over the west end of the mall. Rows of tables fill the mall’s space, brightly colored dauber containers scattered up and down the tables covered with white construction paper. Entire families — from grandparents to grandkids — gather across from one another, bingo cards at the ready, daubers in hand, waiting for the caller to shout out the bingo numbers.

Cheers (or groans) follow each number as your card either has the number or not. Families laugh, share stories and point out missed numbers. Kids (of all ages) use the time in between numbers to make patterns with their daubers on the paper and Lions members stroll the aisles between the tables offering encouragement, picking up unsuccessful cards, and selling the next lucky card.

All proceeds go to the club’s Toys for Tots program, which provides new toys or gift certificates to almost 1,000 area children. In addition, the program also provides holiday food boxes to help feed about 1,500 people in the area.

If you know someone, or need help yourself, the Lions will begin taking applications for the 2018 Toys for Tots program on Monday.

Those who need help this year can apply at the Lions Den at 607 S. Ella Street in Sandpoint (west of Memorial Field, next to the Bonner County Museum).

Applications are also available at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare office, 207 Larkspur St., Ponderay.

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 main branch in Sandpoint, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Bonner Mall Way.

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: Lions Den, 263-4118 or

Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee

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