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'Tis the season for giving at Backus Legion

The Backus American Legion charitable gaming partnership approved $15,700 in holiday season donations for youth, community, educational and veterans programs.

Backus American Legion Auxiliary members with boxes of Christmas gifts packaged for service personnel from Backus area families on active duty. L to R, Jean Dawson, Judy Johnston, Helen Dobson and Patty Schmiesing. Packages included summer sausage, cheese, crackers, trail mix, assorted candy and an Auxiliary home-created Christmas card with a message: “Thinking of you at this special time of year and wanting you to know that you are not forgotten. Thank you for your service! Merry Christmas!”
Backus American Legion Auxiliary members with boxes of Christmas gifts packaged for service personnel from Backus area families on active duty. L to R, Jean Dawson, Judy Johnston, Helen Dobson and Patty Schmiesing. Packages included summer sausage, cheese, crackers, trail mix, assorted candy and an Auxiliary home-created Christmas card with a message: “Thinking of you at this special time of year and wanting you to know that you are not forgotten. Thank you for your service! Merry Christmas!”

The Backus American Legion charitable gaming partnership approved $15,700 in holiday season donations for youth, community, educational and veterans programs.

The donations address a variety of community and veterans needs. The Legion's charitable gaming partnership consists of gaming revenues from the post and its longtime affiliated partner, Willard's Eatery and Saloon in Backus. It is a multi-purpose, community-based charitable gaming program serving a wide variety of area population and veterans' needs.

Since 1991, through the end of last year and not including contributions thus far this year, the Legion's operation has donated more than $810,000 to community and veterans programs and paid more than $732,000 in state and federal taxes.

The gaming program is part of the American Legion's nationally chartered mission of supporting youth, community and nation. Among the donations the Legion's membership approved at meetings in October and November were:

$750 to the Pine River-Backus Family Center for Christmas food and items for needy families; $1,000 to the Pine River-Backus High School rodeo program; $1,000 to the Pine River-Backus Tiger Den food shelf program providing meals for elementary students who don't have enough food on weekends; $1,000 to the Pine River-Backus Road Crew wrestling program; $500 to The Warehouse in Pine River, which provides a safe after school environment for students with food, activities and help with studies; $500 each to the Pine River-Backus High School and Elementary School libraries for books.

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$2,000 for Secret Santa certificates redeemable at Godfrey's Family Foods ranging up to $200 for 10 families in need of food and other essential items (not including purchase of tobacco or lottery tickets); $500 for the post auxiliary's annual Kids' Christmas Party; $1,000 each to local Boy and Girl Scout organizations; $500 for Veterans on the Lake Camp at Ely for disabled veterans; up to $250 each (one approved now) for three scooter batteries from Batteries Plus for disabled veterans; $200 to the USO for holiday entertainment, gifts and phone calls home for military personnel serving in southwest Asia and Africa.

$200 for postage for Christmas gifts for active duty military personnel from the Backus area; $500 for Eagle's Healing Nest at Sauk Rapids, a residential facility for veterans with emotional and physical issues; $200 to the St. Cloud Veterans Hospital for mental health programs; $2,000 each to the Backus Fire Department and Emergency Medical Team; $100 for the Minnesota Medal of Honor Memorial.

"We are especially pleased this time of year to help address some of the needs of our community,'' Post Commander Eugene Gagnon said in a news release. "Together with our partner, Willard's Saloon and Eatery, we thank the public for the generous support of our program and pledge to continue our effort to help make the North Country a better place to live for all of our citizens."

Related Topics: BACKUS AMERICAN LEGIONANNOUNCEMENTS
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