Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1115 are sharpening their “bingo lingo” with the return of “Monday Night Bingo” at the post. Commander Marty Rivera aims for the effort to be a win-win for Post 1115 and the community.
“Monday Night Bingo used to be big back in the day,” said Rivera. “I don’t know why but it just stopped.” He explained the group’s traditional fundraiser, The Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show, isn’t immune to technology’s (Ebay and Amazon) impact. In light of a downturn in sales over the past few years, members are seeking to diversify fund raisers for the Post.
Rivera said he was at a recent VFW meeting and mentioned the situation. Rather quickly he found out a post in Mechanicsville, Virginia had recently upgraded its bingo machine.
“I said you guys want to sell it, ha ha,” Rivera said. “They said they did and when I asked them about a price they said is $500 good enough.” Rivera and two others went to look at the set up and came back to the Post, reporting during a meeting on what they had seen and asking about bringing bingo back.
Members said another group in the area had their bingo equipment up for sale, so Rivera and others checked this setup. The price tag of $3,500 helped seal the deal for the members. Rivera said the Post is interested in partnering with local groups and organizations with some of the proceeds going to the organizations who help them with benefit bingos.
He pointed out a recent event held for the Carroll County High School Baseball Team brought in $600 for the Cavaliers. January 2 was the grand opening of the new Monday Night Bingo at the Post.
“It’s (attendance) grown since. The first night we had 25 and the next we had 30 and on January 16 we had 45,” Rivera said. “We’re trying to tweak it to get it all set up just right for everyone.”
Rivera pointed out the the invitation for other groups to participate allows them (per state regulations) to typically give from 10 to 18 percent of the proceeds to their partners.
“By doing this we are allowing organizations to raise money in a faster, easier fashion,” said Rivera. “This is a lot easier way of earning money when you consider the planning and preparation for some events. A little sweat equity can go a long way.”
Doors open at Monday Night Bingo at 5:30 p.m. with “early bird” games scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. with regular bingo slated for 7 p.m. Rivera said currently bingo includes “aggressive” bingo games where the payoff increases up to $50 a week if no none has the jackpot numbers. There is also a 50/50 raffle basket and a “Queen of Hearts” game where the lucky ones get to stroll up the the board and choose a playing card. If they picked the queen of hearts, they win. The pot also increases for this weekly if the winning card isn’t drawn.
Participants are also asked to fill out a basic information card so they can be notified of games being cancelled due to bad weather. This pool of names is used on Monday nights for a drawing where the winner receives a free early bird card package to use on their next visit. Concessions are available through VFW Auxiliary members staffing the Post’s kitchen for Monday Night Bingo patrons.
“It’s our way of saying thank you for coming out. It’s a win-win for everyone. If we have sixty or more players all the payouts will go up,” Rivera said. “You can feel the excitement build. Those winning over $500, per State Code, have to file a tax form.” More information about Monday Night Bingo may be obtained on the Post’s Facebook page or by calling 276-728-2911.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.