Winners of a $1 million lottery prize explain why they donate the entire amount to charity

Prior to receiving their prize money, JoAnn MacQueen and Marlisa Mercer decided to donate it to their community.

We all hope to win the lottery one day and have various plans for our fortunes if we did. A few months ago, when JoAnn MacQueen and Marlisa Mercer won a million dollars in the lottery, it was a dream come true. Good News Network reports that instead of spending it on luxuries, they decided to use it in the healthiest way possible.

The majority of their winnings were donated to worthy causes in their hometown of Orillia, a city in Ontario, Canada, in order to aid and improve the conditions of the local community. MacQueen recalls scanning her ticket at the Shoppers Drug Mart on Front Street’s Lotto Max machine for the June 7 draw. She reported to Orillia Matters, “On the checkers, it doesn’t say you won, it doesn’t make any sound. It just came up as $1 million and a free play.”  She re-scanned the document to confirm her disbelief.

The 69-year-old woman never anticipated winning such a large sum of money and recalls being trembling after hitting the jackpot. MacQueen and Mercer received the sum in August, but they had already decided to donate it to their community.

Recently, the alcoholism-related death of MacQueen’s brother prompted his best friends to donate to places he may have frequented in life. They contributed varying amounts to organizations such as Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, the Orillia SPCA, and the Farley Foundation, an Ontario-based organization that assists low-income pet owners with animal care.

In addition, they contributed to a number of local charities in their hometown, including the Salvation Army, the Royal Canadian Legion poppy campaign in Orillia, Mariposa House Hospice, the Comfie Cat Shelter, and the Sharing Place Food Center, which helps the economically disadvantaged gain access to nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Chris Peacock, executive director of The Sharing Place, expressed appreciation for the $10,000 donation. He said, “These are the types of donations that really elevate an organization. It’s a big deal.”

Given the rising cost of living and the current holiday season, he stated that the donation came at an appropriate time to assist the Sharing Place with its food expenses. He said of the companions,  “They are completely focused on how can they help to make this community a better place through this win. Not many people win a million bucks and have the core goal of spending it on others and improving this community.”

MacQueen and Mercer also contributed an additional $10,000 to the Comfie Cat Shelter. McQueen elucidated, “I like that they are a no-kill shelter. I think that they get overlooked because they are independent and don’t have a lot of backing.” The manager and founder of the shelter, Barb MacLeod, is extremely appreciative for this donation. She stated, “It covers our vet bill for October, and it gives us money for more spay and neuters.”

MacLeod disclosed that she was moved to tears when the lottery winners approached her with the donation, which is one of the five largest contributions the organization has ever received. She stated: “We were really low on funds. We’ve been having a rough few weeks with people surrendering cats to us that were not healthy. This takes a big load off us.”

MacQueen and Mercer will give the remaining funds from their donations to family and friends. They will also implement some home improvements.