Turkey bingo

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009

They called it turkey bingo.

If a Hawthorne Elementary School student or their family member filled in a line horizontally, vertically or diagonally on their bingo card, they could get a turkey.

Then, if they got a second bingo, they could get stuffing, and so on, to get more and more fixin’s for a Thanksgiving meal.

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“With the whole recession we wanted to come up with a way to give back to our students and their families,” said Jim Glaser, third grade teacher. “And it’s also a way to get families involved with the school.”

More than 300 students and their families came to the school on Tuesday to take part in the event in the gymnasium, which was organized by 15 teachers at the school.

Glaser said it has been in the works for about a month and a half, and it’s something that’s built excitement for the staff.

Staff and different businesses donated 35 turkeys, Mrs. Gerry’s donated 500 pounds of potatoes and Culligan Water donated 240 containers of water. There were also 50 containers of Stove Top stuffing donated and 50 containers of fruits and vegetables, Glaser said.

In addition to Hawthorne Elementary staff, Albert Lea School Board members and Superintendent Mike Funk were also in attendance to show their support in the event and to volunteer as bingo callers.

“We just want to give back and help our families in any way we can,” Glaser said.

He noted he hopes families have a positive experience in the school.

After Principal Corrine Tims welcomed the crowd and thanked the Hawthorne staff for putting the event together, the children and their families buckled down to focus on winning a turkey.

The first bingo came in just a few minutes after numbers were being called, and then one by one more turkeys were handed out.

“Who wants to win a turkey?” School Board member Jolinda Schreiber shouted out into the crowd.

Hands flew up in the air.

As numbers were read aloud at the front of the gym, sighs could be heard if the students didn’t find a number on their card, while on the other hand a simple “Yes!” could be heard when they got to mark off number after number.

Periodically throughout the night there were also raffles for items such as pies.

In between rounds of bingo, Glaser shared brief infomercials about things parents can do at home to help their child with their learning.

One family in attendance was DeAnn Stevens and children Darien Schroeder, Damien Schroeder and Kylee Stevens.

About 50 minutes into the night, Darien got the family’s first bingo, and then within five minutes later, she got another.

“Turkey’s the best,” she said.

DeAnn Stevens said she decided to come out for the event because it would be something fun for the kids to do.

Plus, she noted, it wouldn’t hurt to get a free turkey.

“It’s one less thing to buy,” she said. By 7 p.m. they had won both a turkey and two boxes of Stove Top stuffing.

Businesses that donated to the night included Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, Faribault Foods, Nelson’s Market Place, Knights of Columbus, Alamco Wood Products, Kwik Trip, Halloweencostumes.com, Hy-Vee, Americana Insurance, Hawthorne Parent-Teacher Organization, The Trumble’s, Walmart, Jennie-O Turkey, Culligan Water and Pizza Pete.