Community groups in Tignish received a surprise when they were invited to share in a portion of the Tignish Royal Canadian Legion's Chase the Ace winnings.

The legion presented cheques totalling $80,000 to 19 community organizations on Feb. 20 at a "give back to the community" event.  

"This was a total surprise. They didn't know up until a week ago until they received the letters, hand-delivered, to them," said Floyd Gaudet, a member of the legion's executive.  

"The people that were here to receive it on behalf of organizations were very happy and we were really happy to be able to reach out and give back to the community," said Gaudet.

The decision about which organizations would receive the money was based on how much each organization does for the community. 

"We looked for the greatest impact that the money would have on the largest demographic," said Gaudet.

Organizations on the list included schools, senior homes, church buildings and more.

Gaudet said he hoped the funds would help the entire community.

"It knits the community closer for sure. Small towns, sometimes we're alienated from bigger centres so we have to be self-sufficient and try to help people out. The legion saw this as a great opportunity."

Tignish legion

The Tignish Royal Canadian Legion shared $80,000 of Chase the Ace funds with 19 community groups. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The Legion still has over $400,000 from its share of the $1 million raised at the first Chase the Ace lottery held in Tignish.

The Tignish Fire Department's share was $490,000 and the arena received $100,000.

Gaudet said the legion executive plans to invest a portion of the money, and some will be used to complete renovations to the building.

The group is also running a second Chase the Ace lottery and the jackpot has reached $20,233.

"We are hopeful it will continue to grow and who knows, we could be doing this again," said Gaudet.