Year-old Gold Mine Lottery gives more than $200,000 to charities and cash prizes
By Nicole Feriancek
The now one-year old Montague and Area Rotary Club’s Gold Mine Lottery has exceeded all expectations in creating an exciting lottery for local players and putting much needed funding into the hands of more than 11 charities in Kings County.
So far, a total of $100,835.39 has been awarded to 49 winners. Nine of those winners were going through cancer treatment, or had a spouse going through cancer treatment. The lottery has also awarded more than $100,000 to local charities.
The lottery costs a toonie to play each week. Players purchase a number for $2 and play that same number each week at participating businesses.
This year, two new charities will receive donations; the Rotary Breakfast for Schools Program, and Eastern Kings Hospice.
There are also two new places to play in eastern PEI, at the MacDonald’s Right Stop in St. Peter’s and the Mount Stewart Irving.
The popularity of the draw continues to increase. As of Monday 5,059 people were playing. The more players, the larger the prize. If someone forgets to play their toonie and their number is drawn their name is posted as a non-winner. There have been 13 non-winners, or roll overs, which created the exciting snowball effect.
The first draw ever, on March 5, 2012 awarded $642. In the most recent draw, the winner took home $3,842.
About 25 per cent of the money collected goes to the Rotary Club, which is used to cover costs or goes to other local benefits and charities.
“The Montague Rotary Club is here to help in our communities. We assist folks who are going through a rough time, be it a critical illness, or just down on their luck. We have helped patients travelling for cancer treatments as well as assisted children with mobility issues. The club welcomes requests for anyone who may need assistance and folks are encouraged to ask a rotary member if they know of anyone in need,” past president Robert Jay said. “The Montague Rotary Club has also made large contributions to the Montague Rotary Library, the Rotary Eastern Eagles Soccer Park and have even bought a new bus to service seniors in our area – we are a small club doing big things in our community.”
Money from the Gold Mine Draw has helped the Southern Kings & Queens Food Bank and the Souris Food Bank feed the hungry, keeps books on the shelves at the Montague Library and helps Hospice of Southern Kings and Eastern Kings Hospice volunteers give comfort to people at the end stages of life.
Judy Hennessey, executive director of the Harbourview Training Centre in Souris, which provides support services and job training for people with intellectual disabilities said they feel extremely grateful to have been put on the Gold Mine recipient list.
In the last year Harbourview has received more than $4,000 from the Rotary Gold Mine. All of that money was put towards the new Snoezelen Room, which is now operational.
“We really appreciate the Rotary Gold Mine, and not just financially. Each time we get a donation we are lucky enough to get our photo in the paper, people see that, and then come into the centre,” Ms Hennessey said.
She said the exposure brings in people who would have never otherwise heard of the centre.
In Montague, Meals on Wheels coordinator Elinor MacLeod said the impact of Gold Mine donations have been “Major. It’s a marvelous gift to be receiving.”
Meals on Wheels serves 22 clients in Montague, including people returning from surgery to seniors on fixed incomes.
Ms MacLeod said just 10 cents is made on every meal, so the service is heavily reliant on donations.
“It’s just amazing to have the Rotary Gold Mine. I hope it goes on forever.”
Ms MacLeod said members of her organization sometimes volunteer to count the toonies before the weekly draw. “I helped out and really it is just a lot of fun.”
The Gold Mine Draw is a reality thanks to the hard work of business owners and employees who collect the toonies and the many volunteers who help collect, count, peel and pile more than 3,000 toonies every week.
Two extraordinary volunteers who have been instrumental in the Gold Mine’s success are Gordie “Chips” MacDonald and Jennifer Scott, both Montague residents who help out almost every week with their time. “The Eastern Graphic has also helped us out in a major way” Montague Rotary President Dr. Pius Murnahan said.
“With the Graphic printing our donations and winner’s photos, as well as our message on page six each week, we have great visibility in our communities ... people buy the paper to see who won ... or lost, so it’s a win-win situation!”
At the end of year one the draw is looking to find a special player.
If you have been playing the number 11542, please contact any member of the Rotary Gold Mine as soon as possible. Contact Sharon Riley at 838-2515 Ext 204, Brian Barry at 838-5421 or Scott Annear at 969-4463.
Players can help make the draw easier, by writing clearly with pen, not a thick marker, and by playing with toonies, not quarters, loonies or bills. The toonie stickers do not stick to the new plastic bills as well as they did to older bills.
Players wanting to increase their odds of winning can do so by purchasing another playing number.
There is absolutely no benefit to playing more than one toonie with the same number. New players can sign up with their full name, including their middle name or initial to eliminate confusion.