The Barrie Royal Canadian Legion and the Barrie Rotary Club had a wild idea to partner up to help three separate charities.
For the last five years, the local legion has seen multiple successful draws, with more than $450,000 distributed to weekly and jackpot prize winners.
But more importantly, says legion spokesperson Steve Glover, is the lottery has allowed them to contribute more than $140,000 back to other Barrie and Simcoe County charitable organizations.
“What we’ve done in the last year and a half is we have partnered with the Rotary Club of Barrie. Our current draw is in week 14,” he said.
Every time someone buys a ticket and the ace remains hidden, another $1.50 per ticket goes into the progressive jackpot.
“Right now, on week 14, if someone finds the ace of spades, they’re going to win some serious cash," Glover said.
The lottery serves as an important way for the legion to give back to its community, he added, noting in the past they have helped support Special Olympics Ontario, Gilda’s Club Simcoe Muskoka, the Salvation Army and the Alzheimer Society. Proceeds have also been used in support projects at the legion facility on St. Vincent Street.
“This week, we are going to donate $9,000 to the Barrie Food Bank, $7,000 to the Salvation Army and $5,000 to Christmas Cheer,” Glover told BarrieToday.
The Barrie Legion Bingo Fund is also making donations of $3,000 to the local food bank and $2,000 each to the Salvation Army and Christmas Cheer, he added.
“It’s been pretty successful … and is all about finding the ace of spades in a deck of 52 cards. Sometimes the card is found in week five, and sometimes it’s found in week 27,” he said.
“By purchasing a ticket online or in person at the legion, it pays back into our own community. The Rotary Club of Barrie, their raison d'etre is giving back to their community. That’s what they do. Every dime they raise goes back into the community," Glover added.
Although the lottery was doing OK before partnering with the club, Glover admitted it was “stagnating” and it was time to bring it into the technology age.
“It was only a manual draw, but we’ve used the expertise of some more tech-savvy individuals who are members of the rotary club,” he said, noting with their help the lottery has become hybrid, with tickets available both online and in-person.
“If the ace remains hidden for another 10 or 15 weeks, the money could get seriously large. We once had a lady win over $100,000."