Many community organizations and groups are able to continue to function and provide their services due in part to the support of the Spring Grove Commercial Club.

Last year, the Commercial Club sponsored pull-tabs at Norski's Saloon and The Corner Store. Profit from these pull-tabs went directly back to the community.

"There are always needs to be met in the community, and we (Commercial Club) like to be able to help as much as we can. These gambling funds make a huge difference in what community groups are able to offer," commented Lorilyn Dehning, Commercial Club's charitable gambling program manager.

"For example, Semcac Senior Dining's funds were cut way back, so our support along with support from others makes it possible to continue this beneficial program that provides nutritious meals, as well as a place for seniors to gather.

"We've helped fund post prom activities that give high school kids a safe, alcohol-free, drug-free place to go after prom. We've purchased SMART Boards for the school, too."

In 2012, charitable gambling funds totaled $13,081.95, and these funds were distributed the following ways:

• SMART Boards: $2,500

• Dollars For Scholars scholarships: $2,000

• City of Spring Grove Summer Rec program: $1,281.95

• Spring Grove School Post Prom Party: $1,000

• Tweeten Lutheran Healthcare Center for Science Sidekicks program: $1,000

• Semcac for Senior Dining: $700

• Syttende Mai Queens' Scholarships: $600

• Ye Olde Opera House: chairs, $500; roof, $500

• Giants of the Earth Heritage Center: $500

• Christmas-in-the-Village (lighting of the park): $500

• Bluff Country Artists Gallery: $500

• Camp Winnebago: $500

• SG School Girls' Basketball tournament $500

• ECFE Halloween Party: $400

• Ability Building Center and Woodland Industries: $100

The annual Houston County Festival of Trees is also a special project of the Commercial Club. This event takes place during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Each year, the funds raised continue to increase.

"We are amazed each year at the new faces we see and are so appreciative of old friends who continue to come out and support this worthy fund-raising venture," remarked Jacqui VanMinsel, Festival of Trees treasurer and board member.

"Thank you to all that come out and support Festival of Trees; you make this event successful."

Festival of Trees raised $17,148.76 in 2012 that was distributed as follows:

• Houston County Food Shelf: $7,569.38

• Houston County Care & Share: $7,569.38

• Spencer Olson scholarship: $371.25

• Spring Grove School Music Boosters: $337.50

• Giants of the Earth Heritage Center: $281.25

• People First of Houston County: $112.50

• Beary Patch Preschool: $97.50

• Trinity Lutheran Youth: $67.50

• Youth Development: $60

• Spring Grove Summer Rec: $37.50

• Newhouse Norsemen 4-H Club: $26.25

• Dollars for Scholars: $26.25

"We like to help in any way possible to keep the community thriving and growing," said Dehning. "We appreciate the support of the community in our fund-raising efforts."