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B&G clubs yell 'Bingo!' for fundraiser

Community support is creating new avenues for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula to succeed financially.

They include a Kids' Bingo benefit at 7 Cedars Casino on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Club leaders say increased awareness of the clubs' financially thin earnings in the first quarter each year brought new donors and groups offering their services.

Stacy Ceder, resource development director for the organization, said representatives of plastic-ware companies, Schwann's, musical groups and a jewelry dealer are other community members offering events for new income.

"We've had a lot of people wanting to come in and help," Ceder said, "and there's been a lot of discussion about things like this.

"We don't want to shoo anyone away even if it's not going to be earth-shattering amounts of money."

Music, Tupperware

On Friday, Jan. 29, musical group Sweet Music performed at the Sequim club, bringing in about $200.

This Saturday, Feb. 6, the Sequim club will host a communitywide Tupperware event, with 15 percent of proceeds going to the club.

Executive director Bob Schilling said the Port Angeles club is looking into an Italian dinner at the end of March or the first weekend of April.

He and organizers hoped to bump up the date, but space and time didn't allow for it.

Schilling confirmed that the Boys & Girls Clubs would host a first-quarter fundraiser, Kids' Bingo, on Feb. 20, at 7 Cedars Casino.

Tribe made offer

While discussing the casino's sponsorship of the clubs' annual golf tournament, the idea to partner on a bingo event came up from casino officials.

Russ Underwood, bingo manager for 7 Cedars, said the casino last held Kids' Bingo in 2006. Prior to then, the events were twice a year but limited space had kept officials from continuing it until now.

Underwood was optimistic that, partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs, they could see healthy attendance for the event again.

"In the past, it has drawn about 700 kids and parents," Underwood said.

At a $10 buy-in for children and adults, all money raised will go to the clubs.

Prizes for winning include a Nintendo Wii, guitars and handheld MP3 players.

The casino is donating staff time and space for the event.

Little reaction

Schilling said the response from parents and/or guardians has been minimal about the event being held in the casino.

"People accept the game of bingo, and children already know the game," he said.

"It's not truly a gambling bingo game. You could also call a fishing derby gambling, too. There are a lot of similar events."

Kids' Bingo will be held in the Bingo Hall, which will be free of alcohol and smoke.

Schilling said the clubs' board of directors considered the fundraiser thoroughly.

"Our board would prefer to leave it up to parents, guardians and grandparents if they want to take their children to the event," Schilling said.

"If they have any problem with the casino, then I don't expect to see them there."

Continued sponsorship

The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs many times, Schilling said.

They've sponsored the golf tournament, participated in auctions and tribal members donate to the Campaign for Kids.

"Not partnering with them is kind of shooting ourselves in the foot," Schilling said.

On top of the optimism created from the new first-quarter event, Schilling said he was OK with their first-quarter plan all along.

"We made it through January just fine," he said.

"I have every reason to believe we'll be OK. We aren't going to restore much this year except our reserves."

He said some new and continuing donors have made this quarter better, too.

Last month, Safeway employees in Port Angeles and Sequim donated more than $12,600 to the clubs.

"That particular donation became very important to our first quarter," Schilling said.

"Thank you to them for their thoughtfulness and willingness to help."

Schilling's list of donors could fill pages, he said, but businesses including thrift store Treasures 'n Thrift, Westport Marine and the Pepsi Foundation have helped the clubs.



Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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