South Carolina store sells $350K lottery ticket, uses prize to fund community Thanksgiving meal
Aggi Tarnowski looks at a copy of a winning lottery scratch-off ticket sold at the KP Food Mart in Anderson, South Carolina. The $350,000 win with a scratch off also meant the store got $3,500, which Tarnowski said the store would put into having Thanksgiving meals to go for the community the store is in. Locals also donated food for the Thanksgiving meals, which the store owners say they will match. (Photo: Ken Ruinard / staff)
ANDERSON, S.C. – When a local woman won $350,000 off a scratch-off lottery ticket purchased from a store in South Carolina earlier this month, it boosted both the finances and recognition of the two-month-old store.
The owners and managers of KP Food Mart in Anderson, South Carolina, have decided to turn around and use both of those new assets to benefit the community with a free Thanksgiving Day meal at the store.
“We’re going to have a Thanksgiving dinner for all of my walk-in traffic and homeless people around here,” store manager Aggi Tarnowski said. “We’re cooking all the sides, turkeys, everything, the whole nine yards. The food is going to be free for all who need it.”
“”Whatever I have, I’d give it all away. I will get it back tenfold and I will be blessed for it.””
Store owners Prasanna Parvatneni and Ritesh Patel received $3,500 as commission for selling the winning $10 Mighty Jumbo Bucks ticket. The winner overcame odds of one to 857,142.86 in winning her $350,000 prize.
Tarnowski framed a copy of the winning ticket and proudly displays it in the store.
She and store supervisor Melissa Grimmette expect to have the meals packaged and ready to go on Thanksgiving Day at the store. Tarnowski is cooking all the side dishes – macaroni and cheese, dressing, green bean casserole, rolls and more – and Grimmette planned to fry most of the turkeys.
Aggi Tarnowski, left, store manager at the KP Food Mart in Anderson, South Carolina, shows Melissa Grimmette one of the donated frozen turkeys the store will help prepare for Thanksgiving. A $350,000 winning lottery scratch-off ticket was sold at the store, which also meant the store got $3,500. Tarnowski said the store would put the money back into having Thanksgiving meals to go for the community. Locals also donated food for the Thanksgiving meals, which the store owners say they will match. (Photo: Ken Ruinard / staff)
Donations already flowing in
Though the plan is to fund the meal with the lottery commission money, KP Food Mart customers have gotten wind of the plan and have begun bringing in unsolicited donations for the meal.
Tarnowski is always eager to give back to the community, Grimmette said, and the owners have been quick to support their efforts.
“It started because Aggi wanted to (feed the community),” Grimmette said. “She has a lot of traffic and people coming in who need food. She gives away the biscuits and things after a certain time, so she already wanted to do this. Of course, having the extra funds, (the owners) figured they’d help out and match whatever we get. They’re really good about that.”
The women gave out candy during Halloween, will donate any uneaten meals to a nonprofit and have decided leftover funds should be used to help families in need for Christmas.
“We have been open only like two-and-half months, and this is a big thing for us to bring some positive vibes in Anderson as a new store,” Tarnowski said in a Polish accent. “It also shows the people us, as foreigners, can have good input in the community.”
The pair anticipate feeding at least 30 people but are prepared to cook any donations and make sure they find their way to the hands and mouths of those who might not otherwise have a Thanksgiving meal.
Though they’ll spend hours preparing food for people they may or may not know – or possibly see again – Tarnowski said their efforts are well worth the smiles they’re sure to see Thursday afternoon.
“We’re not going to judge anyone, we’re all humans and nobody is perfect,” she said. “I might not have much, but whatever I have, I’d give it all away. I will get it back tenfold and I will be blessed for it.”
Follow reporter Caitlin Herrington on Twitter @GoldenCornerCat
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