Kids Bingo packs Lonsdale Legion

Jarrod Schoenecker

Jarrod Schoenecker photo

Madelyn Hrbek, 8, gets a baby chick painted on her face from artist Maria Curren. Madelyn’s younger brother, Jaxon Hanson, 6, watches in anticipation from behind.

Families packed the hall at the American Legion Post 586 this past Saturday for the Son’s of the American Legion’s (SAL) for Kids Bingo.

SAL started in 1932 for males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the United States Military to become members of the American Legion. Although the group has its own membership, it is not a separate entity.

“A lot of people think you have to have been in the military to join the Sons of the American Legion, but you don’t,” said SAL 586 Commander Chuck Schauss. “It’s for anyone who had a parent or grandparent who served — whether they are adopted or a stepchild.”

Although SAL is focused on the men in the family, a lot of those who are members had wives along that were there helping alongside them. “Men can join the Sons and women can join the American Legion Auxiliary,” said Schauss. Throughout the year, Schauss says they host a number of different fundraising efforts to be able to put on events like Kids Bingo for free for the families. “We just had a gun bingo (to raise money) and we get a lot from our charitable gambling,” Schauss said.

SAL also hosts Kid Bingo near Halloween, where families come dressed up in all sorts of costumes. “It’s an event for the kids,” said SAL 586 Vice Commander Jeff Seaton. Seaton was there with his wife Alicia who was also helping with the event.

Schauss estimates that about 300 people attended the event over the course of its three hours. The event featured bingo with prizes, face painting and an appearance by the Easter Bunny — all provided free due to donations and SAL’s fundraising efforts.

The face painters are hired by SAL, and there was a constant line there with kids having a selection of various Easter-themed items to pick from. Andria Hanson brought her two children to the event, both of who waited in line and go their faces painted. It was their first time going to the event, which they said they were enjoying a lot. Hanson’s six-year-old son Jaxon was most excited about winning a prize at bingo. Hanson’s eight-year-old daughter Madelyn patiently waited as she got her face painted with a baby chick.

Prizes for winning bingo were a combination of items bought and items that local businesses donated for the event. Calling the numbers for bingo were Seaton’s own daughter Lilly and Lilly’s friend Leah Hanson — kids volunteering for a kids event.

At the event, Pizzeria201 pizza, Udder Buddies Ice Cream, and beverages from the American Legion were available for purchase.

In addition to hosting Kids Bingo, Schauss says that SAL helps support the local food shelf and also a service called Believet. Believet is an organization out of Northfield that provides trained service dogs free of charge to veterans suffering from service-related injuries or disabilities. SAL invites all who are eligible to join. If you are interested in joining the local SAL, email or stop by the American Legion in Lonsdale to inquire about it.

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