What began as an offer by a board member to help raise needed funds has turned into an annual event anticipated by attendees and welcomed by the Lycoming County United Way in its mission to mobilize resources to improve lives.
"Diane Stine approached me in 2008 with an idea to conduct a basket bingo as a special event fundraiser," said Scott N. Lowery, LCUW executive director.
"We had never done anything like this, but Diane had expertise and energy so we gave her the green light to proceed. We are now preparing for our fourth annual basket bingo to be held Nov. 6. Thanks to all Diane's efforts, the event has been both fun and successful.
A samplng of the items in this year’s”basket bingo” United Way fundraiser.
"Over the years we have conducted a variety of special event fundraisers,"?Lowery continued. "Some have been very successful, while others have produced marginal results. We have a small United Way staff and the detailed time it takes to plan and implement these kinds of events detracted from the everyday efforts needed to support our human service mission.
"Even though Diane has since rotated off our Board of Directors, she has been kind enough to continue this event. It has turned into more than just a fund raiser. We get a lot of repeat customers who really enjoy the afternoon."
This year's Basket Bingo will be held Nov. 6, beginning at 1 p.m. at the Old Lycoming Township Fire Hall.
Advance bingo tickets are available for a $20 donation at the United Way office, at 1 W. Third St., Suite 208.
Tickets at the door the day of the event are $25.
The event will include 20 regular bingo games included with the ticket.
There also will be five special games and a $1,200 super bingo available.
Doors open at noon with an early bird special game at 12:45 p.m.
"While it is a lot of work to put together this bingo, it is also a lot of fun," Stine said. "My mom, Evelyn Free, my daughter, Tanya Frey, and my daughter-in-law, Kaitlyn Twigg, have pitched in to help over the years, so it has been a family affair, something we've enjoyed doing together. It also provides some extra funding for United Way, an organization we strongly believe in and support. Last year was the first time we played a Super Bingo game and it was such fun we are going to do it again."
Stine added that the value of merchandise is more than $1,200.
"Not only do we have many Longaberger baskets and accessories, we received an anonymous donation of an antique wash table," she said. "It has a wood bottom and marble top that is just beautiful; so you can tell the theme for the Super Bingo is a bathroom. From the print on the wall, rug on the floor, towels on the rack, and much more, we think this one game, one-winner Super Bingo, is a great addition to our event."
"I hope everyone brings a friend to enjoy the afternoon of fun and to help raise funds for our fellow Lycoming County residents," Stine concluded. "The need this year is greater than ever."
"Before this event I didn't know anything about basket bingo," said John Brunette, LCUW board president. "But each year when I show up to help I am amazed by Diane's preparations and direction to make this a success.
"There are smiles on lots of folk's faces whether they win a prize or not," he added. "That makes it special for me and I thank Diane and all the volunteers who pitch in to make this possible every year."
This year's basket bingo fundraiser is sponsored in part by Range Resources.
For more information about this event or tickets, call the United Way office at 323-9448.