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METHUEN — Once a year the Ladies Auxiliary Post 8349 hosts a penny social to help raise money for the numerous organizations they support.

“We donate to everyone and everything,” said Elli Shimko, co-chairwoman of the event. “Every dime we raise goes to someone. That’s why we do this, so we can disperse it.”

The most recent social was held on March 24 at the VFW on River Street.

“It’s not really a fundraiser. We sell tickets for the raffle prizes,” Shimko said. “It’s more of a social gathering than anything. People love it.”

Raffle prizes included everything from stuffed bunnies for Easter to a Superman backpack, to watches and games to CD players and televisions.

“We have great gifts,” Shimko said. “We get stuff from everywhere; we go big on this event every year.”

Auxiliary treasurer Barbara Eaton, who has been a member for 53 years, not only worked the event, she made an afghan that was donated as a prize to be raffled off.

“I’ve made them for all of my family so I figured I would make one for this,” Eaton said. “I just like to make them and in the wintertime it gives me something to do.”

Raffle tickets were sold for $5 for 25 tickets.

Larette Gagne, a member of the Haverhill VFW post, was busy ripping apart her tickets she bought for the raffle.

“Why did I buy $50 worth?” Gagne asked herself with a laugh. “I’m tired of ripping them up.”

Gagne’s friend Peggy Fitzgerald, who was helping tear the tickets, asked Gagne if she would share the prizes if she won. The answer of course was yes.

Last year Joe Hayes was deemed bad luck by his friends because he wasn’t winning any prizes.

“I just told them I was holding out for the big prize at the end — the TV,” Hayes said. “I just kept waiting and they called the number and it was me.”

Fidelity House employees Judy Fay and Peggy Gibbons donated a $75 basket of nips in the name of Nadia Deeb, who died in January after she was hit by a car on Swan Street.

“These people are so wonderful. This past Christmas they gave me a $300 donation for the two group homes I work with,” Fay said of the Ladies Auxiliary.

“I was able to buy lights to decorate both houses, presents and dinner. I can’t thank them enough, so Peggy and I wanted to give back in Nadia’s name.”

Last year the event raised $650, and Shimko expected about the same if not more this year.

One of the Auxiliary’s recipients is Operation Uplink, which helps keep military personnel and hospitalized veterans in touch with family and friends by providing them with free phone cards.

Other groups include the Boy Scouts, children’s hospitals and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Have a story idea? Gayle Simone can be reached at 978-970-4838 or by e-mail at gsimone@thevalleydispatch.com.