Popular fundraiser returns to in-person event

WILTON – For over 60 years, beginning in 1957, the annual penny sale was the main fundraiser for the local Lions Club. Hundreds of people gathered every fall in the Florence Rideout Elementary School gymnasium for an evening of fun.

Then COVID came and the event was cancelled.

It returned this year co-sponsored by the Wilton-Lyndeborough Parent Teacher Organization.

“We were thinking about holding it,” long-time member Dick Putnam said. “They approached us and said they’d like to join with us and we accepted.”

The sale at the middle-high school on Saturday, Oct. 22, drew hundreds of people to take their chances on a gym-full of donated prizes.

“Their enthusiasm is terrific,” Putnam said. He was in his usual place, selling tickets at the door.

Putnam is the oldest member of the club. He started attending when he was in grade school and “never missed one.”

The method of the sale is simple: numbers are placed in plastic buckets beside each item and a winner is drawn. You do have to be there to win.

Club spokesperson Deb Degan called it “a great sale.” She said there were “more donations than any time since I’ve been in the club, the last 18 years.”

On Sunday, total proceeds had not yet been determined. They will be divided equally between the two organizations.

Club member Kermit Williams said of the sale, “It was nice that we could all get together again for a fun evening.”

The Lions Club is best known for fighting blindness and providing glasses for the needy, but they also support a wide variety of local causes including the Open Cupboard Food Pantry. For more information, check their website.

The WLC Co-op Connection meets monthly. They sponsor student and school activities and support academic programs. For more information email wlcpto@gmail.com.