Indoor Bingo Helps Save Service Clubs

By Ben Hamill - October 10 2020
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Indoor Bingo Helps Save Service Clubs

Branch 56 of the Royal Canadian Legion in the Pleasantville neighbourhood St. John’s aren’t wishing the summer they’ve only just managed to survive on their worst enemies. A normally bustling summer of weddings and receptions and parties of ten different varieties this year yielded not a cent of revenue income. That’s zero revenue since March 16, according to Branch President John McDonald. And the only thing left remaining now, is to instead of raising Bingo funds for others, start raising those same funds for their own survival instead.

Serious financial challenges and massive losses have prompted Newfoundland and Labrador service clubs such as the one in Pleasantville to adopt creative approaches in order to keep head above water. Since the 6-months-long closure didn’t exempt the club from the mounting heap of bills, payments had to be made from what had been left of reserves.

But since those reserves too were quickly running out, McDonald says the September 3 Bingo reopening date could not possibly have come quickly enough. And now that it has, the club is eager to do everything in its power to keep it that way. And most other clubs are doing exactly the same and hoping for the same positive outcome.

Read More...Bingo Finally Returns To Charlottetown Club

Change Has Been A Constant

Since safety is now the ultimate name of the game, service clubs cannot stress enough the importance of a safety-first approach – even to the point of clubs having resorted to erecting plastic sheets between players at Bingo tables.

Pretty much everybody is in full-on survival mode right now – including Carpasian Road’s Elks Club, situated just across town from Branch 56. The club has been trying hard to come up with creative new ways in which to generate the funds to keep afloat. A recent self-serving membership drive including a performance by classic-rock cover band Cold Plate went at least some way toward beginning to fill some of the holes left by an ongoing global crisis.

Open Hearts And Bingo

Cold Plate’s performance came at no charge whatsoever to the club – thanks to openhearted members of the band. And that’s a good job too, because according to Management Committee Chair Jocelyn Green, club revenue is now officially down a disastrous 80 per cent.

Since large public gatherings such as weddings and birthday parties and the use of the club’s kitchen currently remains a strict no-no, the club has had to adopt a much “leaner” approach than before, explains Green.

At least Bingo attendance at most clubs seems to be increasing ever since safety measures such as plastic dividers and regular sanitization has become pretty much part of everyday life, says Baccalieu Lions Club President Mike Foote.

Bringing indoor Bingo back is creating major relief as far as finances and the keeping open of doors are concerned. Bingo is Bingo, explained Foote, even if players now have to talk back and forth each from the comfort of their own cube.

Where there’s Bingo, there’s always a way.

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