Lotto winner to give church some cash

The Associated Press
Friday November 17, 2000

TORRANCE — Remedios Aquino says the $36,000 a year for 20 years she won in the California Lottery’s “Big Spin” game will feed her hobby – giving to others. 

The money she won Saturday will go entirely to charities, abused children, friends, her grandchildren’s education and a Methodist church in the Philippines, Aquino said Tuesday. 

Aquino, 64, a Wilmington child care worker and native of the Philippines, said she plans to give $100,000 to the Razon First Methodist Church in Santa Quiteria. She said it was founded by her father in a garage, and is now run by a nephew and niece. It has about 500 members and offers weekly services and Bible study classes, she told the Torrance Daily Breeze. 

The big prize came after she had spent about $100 per week on lottery tickets for years, she said. 

“I’m so happy that God has blessed me and I’m living a normal life,” she said. “It’s not like you can bring money to heaven. I’m happy and that’s it.” 

“I always gave before,” she added, describing the habit of giving as her hobby and chief pleasure. “But now I’m planning to give a little more.” 

Aquino, whose husband is an engineer for Sheraton Hotels, said she lives a comfortable, middle-class life and wouldn’t think of keeping her winnings. 

She won $1 million, payable at $36,000 a year after taxes over 20 years, in the weekly “Big Spin” game where the pool of contestants are those who had three “TV Show” symbols on one scratch-off ticket. 

The lottery estimates the odds of winning $1 million at 30 million-to-1. Contestants spin a wheel for amounts ranging from $20,000 to $1 million. 

“We’ve had a lot of people give to their churches or to various charities,” said lottery spokeswoman Cathy Doyle Johnston in Sacramento. 

But giving away all of a big lottery prize is a departure from the norm, in which winners often say they’ll buy homes or cars or take lavish vacations. 

“She’s obviously a very giving person,” Johnston said.