By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
n estimated 180 people filled the council rooms of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital on Saturday night, all hoping to be yelling out the word “bingo!” to win their share of $1850 in prize money.
The night was hosted by the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce and the money the chamber raised will be used for local events, schools and community organizations. It will also be used for the chamber’s own expenses.
“Some people forget that the chamber has to cover its own monthly overhead, such as rent, payroll, utilities and insurance,” said Kaipo Chock, CVCOC president. “Board members do volunteer their time, but there is still payroll for the office help, who are [at the office] everyday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. That’s why it’s important for the community to get involved with the activities in there area.”
“We would never turn down volunteers,” he added.
It was volunteers who made sure the night ran smoothly, from those who sold pizza, beverages and homemade cookies to those who helped set up and break down the chairs and tables. Most prominent were members of American Legion Post 288 and Veterans of Foreign Wars 1614. In addition to donating the bingo game materials, the patriotically dressed vets were also on hand to sell additional bingo cards and cards for the “big chip” games.
Though the chamber has hosted bingo events in the past, this was the first time that the games were held at the hospital.
“Having the event at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital was helpful because we had plenty of room to work with,” said Chock. “There was no problem with parking, the sound system with the screens was great and the restrooms were near by.”
Even though groans of disappointment were heard when someone else shouted “bingo!” all was in good fun. When a winning card was confirmed, the crowd would applaud the winner.
Winners on Saturday were Margaret Cummins, Arlene Sterling, Lena Waldheim, Harry Leon, Gigi Greer, Elizabeth Schaeffer, Rick Dinger, Carolyn Ayotte, Madison Thornbury, Robbyn Battles, Julye Ashe, Heather Dinger and Ed Paglisuso. George James won the 50/50 raffle. The final game, which had a prize of $400, was won by Rick Dinger and Sandy Cernuto.
“I think the most fun for me was seeing the community get together on a Saturday night at a cost of $10, meeting new people, making new friends and finding out that you can have a good time with your community neighbors and laugh and smile,” Chock said.
Chock stressed the importance that this type of event achieves in strengthening the bond that makes the Crescenta Valley such a special place in which to live and also alerting people of the opportunities to contributing to the community.
“It’s not what the community can do for you, the question is what can I do or how can I participate in my community. Bingo is one way and it’s for good causes – not only in raising money but also by bringing the community together for a good purpose for the community. This event is a cheap night out for the community that benefits and rewards many.”
The chamber is preparing for its next event, the Smart-A-Thon, being held at USC-VHH on March 15. For more information, call the chamber office at (818) 248-4957, email email@example.com or visit the website crescentavalleychamber.org.