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Saving Bingo

Dear Aunt Bingo:
We received some crushing news tonight. One of my favorite Bingos is closing its doors after more than 30 years of operation. This is the third Bingo to close in my area in the past five years. And every time it has been the exact same thing: No warning, just all of a sudden an announcement that the Bingo will cease operation.
This time I took the time to do some investigating: I chased down the head of the games and asked her directly why the Bingo was ending. She gave me three reasons: fewer players, fewer volunteers, and no one wanting to take over responsibility for the games when she leaves. (She is retiring and she and her husband are moving away.)
I love to play Bingo and I love going to different small, neighborhood games, which keeps it interesting. Luckily, there are still a number of Bingos in operation in my town so I still have options. But it worries me that like the three Bingos I mentioned earlier, out of the blue they also may one day decide to close their doors.
Do you know if this is happening in other places? Do you have suggestions on helping to keep Bingo going in the smaller venues? Thanks you.
—LuAnne, Illinois, via email

Dear LuAnne:
The Bingo Bugle is dedicated to keeping Bingo alive and thriving in the USA and beyond. We do this by supporting the Bingo community through articles, photos, advertisements, gaming directories and schedules, puzzles and games, websites, and more.
Obviously, we are never happy to hear about a Bingo game ending. Like you, we know that when it comes to Bingo, the more games there are, the happier Bingo players will be.
I give a lot of credit to the people who step up and take charge of running charity Bingos. It takes a lot of hours with no pay, the only reward coming from knowing that the hard work results in entertainment for Bingo players and much needed dollars for the charities the games sponsor. That’s why, whenever I catch a glimpse of a Bingo manager smiling while on the job, I am always impressed.
Unfortunately, managers’ efforts only go so far. They need volunteers to sell the paper, work the room, serve the food, call the numbers and clean up the mess. Equally important, managers need enough players filling the chairs and spending money so that the Bingo games can award good prize amounts with enough left over to support charitable work.
If any of the ingredients are missing, the Bingo is in jeopardy. Not enough workers means backed up lines of disappointed players and game delays. Dwindling numbers of players means lost revenue, smaller jackpots and fewer games. Faced with these challenges, what else can managers do but throw up their hands, say, “I’m done!” and close up shop.
It doesn’t take much to help a charity Bingo keep afloat. You can volunteer on occasion when the games are shorthanded. You can encourage more friends and family to go with you to Bingo so there are more dollars coming in. And you can certainly support the hard work of the Bingo manager and crew by letting them know how much you appreciate everything they do—not to mention thinking twice about yelling at the caller or complaining about the service of the volunteers. —Aunt Bingo

Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at STENGL456@aol.com. Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.

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