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How the pandemic ruptured the world of Bingo and its charity partners

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 17:28:53-04

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — Playing bingo is always a gamble but for many local charities, it's so much more. No matter what side of luck you're on, every time you play, you help a bigger cause.

Trudie Love has been playing bingo at Brazos Bingo for years.

"I love bingo, especially if I can win," Trudie Love of Bryan said.

While Love hopes lady luck smiles at her, this playtime also helps local non-profits.

"You never know when you might need help, doing something, or anything- doctor bills, gas, groceries. Whatever," Love said.

The game of chance racks in millions of dollars a year and a large portion goes to local non-profits.

In 2019, Bingo Barn and Brazos Bingo distributed more than 723 thousand dollars combined to charity partners.

In 2020, those combined funds dropped down nearly half with only about 331 thousand dollars.

"Not having the resources quite frankly- it's scary. It probably taught us the value of having a contingency plan. I think it taught that value to everyone," Rhonda Watson, CEO, Boys and Girls Club of Brazos Valley said.

Boys and Girls Club of Brazos Valley is one organization that felt just how much is at stake when the pandemic shut Brazos Bingo down.

"We had to shut our doors for a period of time. We had to reduce the number of kids we were able to serve and even in our service we weren't able to provide it in a way that was as meaningful as pre-COVID," Watson said.

Not only does the Boys and Girls Club hold its own bingo license to benefit, but Kiwanis Club of College Station also gives the majority of its bingo earnings to the organization for support, putting them at a double loss. Now that Bingo is back in action, the club is back on their winning streak.

"Those funds are allowing us to go on field trips again and take the kids out to eat and get back to the core reason why we exist, which is developing future leaders for our community and our nation," Watson said.