From helping out the scouts, the school and the fire department, to aiding music and fairground improvements, the American Legion Post 249's charitable gambling proceeds continues to help many groups.

Each year when Post 249 decides on what groups and organizations will receive some of their charitable gambling proceeds, they try to keep the money spent on local groups.

They may get requests from groups a distance away; however, it is those close to home that they prefer to support.

Their charitable gambling proceeds come from bingo that is played each Friday at 7 p.m., as well as bar bingo that is conducted every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. They also receive proceeds from the sale of pull-tabs that are available during bingo and regular hours at the club's bar.

In 2012, Post 249's income from charitable gambling was $68,952.46 from which a total of $36,622.78 was given out for lawful purposes.

"Minnesota Charitable Gambling requires that at least 30 percent of our income be given out for lawful purposes," explained the post's charitable gambling manager, Ron Dix.

"This past year (2012) we gave out 53 percent. For fraternal organizations who own their building this may include gas and electric utilities and property tax. It also includes donations to non-profit organizations, any youth activity, humanitarian recognition and military recognition."

Post 249 chose the following groups and organizations to receive a portion of their charitable gambling proceeds: Spring Grove Cub Scouts $350, Beary Patch Preschool $300, SG Public School (for the Ballpark/ Weight Room/Girls Basketball) $1,900 combined, Red Cross Bloodmobile $217.98, Spring Grove Volunteer Fire Department $1,250, Spring Grove Music-in-the-Park $900, Houston County Food Shelf $250, Camp Winnebago $500, Houston County Fair (for improvements) $850, Freedom Honor Flight $1,218.40, Piecemakers Quilters Guild $300, Houston County Relay for Life $500, Ability Building Center $400, Houston County K-9 Program $500, Legion Boys and Girls State $1,250, National Child Safety Literature $200, Minnesota Twins Crossing Guards Trip $608, SGHS scholarships $3,000 and the district's annual Military Ball $850.

"The Legion is a service organization," Dix added. "Our focus is to serve the community and our vets. We appreciate those who participate in bingo and buy pull tabs, because we are then able to give back to the community."

The Legion's Charitable Gambling committee meets just before the Legion meeting, which meets the fourth Monday of each month.

The committee consists of: Ron Dix, Lorraine Hagen, Gary Buxengard, Diane Kroshus, Dave Peterson and Ellen Murphy.

For more information on the types of activities the Legion's charitable gambling can fund, contact Dix at (507) 498-3629.