Growing Grass Roots

The Bingo Era 1984-2001+/-

About the year 1984, the Rotary Club of Simcoe embarked on the sponsorship of Bingo as a fundraising project. Little did we know at the time that this fundraiser would still be operating in the year 2000!
 
For the first few years, we sponsored about 40 events per year, each event being manned by a team of approximately 15 Rotarians. The club was divided into 4 teams and with some scheduling care, each Rotarian was responsible to work about 9 events per year. In later years our share of the Bingo events increased to somewhat greater than 53 events per year and has now settled back to about 46 events per year.
 
The revenue earned from this project has been nothing short of fabulous. In the early years of the project, the profits were in excess of $ 25,000 per year increasing each year until 1993 when we reached a record of $ 77,000 for the year. It is estimated that we have earned a total of something greater than $ 700,000 during the life of the project. There has been considerable erosion of profits in recent years due to competition from other Bingo Halls in the area, the opening of casinos in Niagara and Brantford and the opening of a Bingo operation on the Six Nations lands which due to privileged location is not subject to the same standards (licensing) that legitimate Bingo operations must adhere to.
 
The profits from Bingo have been directed to the Norfolk General Hospital (ICCU - $ 150,000 and Mammography Unit - $ 50,000), Norfolk Agricultural Society (Lloyd S. Culver Grandstand), Simcoe Composite School Computer Lab ($ 75,000), Rotary Walkway (Footpath through Simcoe Park), Norfolk Music Festival ($ 3,500 - $ 6,000 per year for recent years), Haldimand-Norfolk Women’s Shelter ($ 25,000), Silver Lake Rowing Club ($ 8,000), the Lynn Valley Trail and countless other smaller gifts to assist those less fortunate than ourselves.
 
One of the sacrifices that Rotarians make when working at a Bingo is the inhalation of second hand tobacco smoke due to the fact that the vast majority of bingo players seem to be heavy smokers. One of the benefits is the enjoyment of rotary fellowship with your co-workers during Bingo and particularly after the event when many of us congregate at a local pub to wash out the smoke and enjoy spicy delicacies (appendages for flying).
 
The future of Bingo as a fundraiser extraordinaire is somewhat clouded but we will likely be working bingo well into the future.
 
 
I just won!
Another winner!
 

Story by John B. Dodd (Deceased), circa 2001