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Bingo is a favorite pastime at Edisto Beach

Both children and adults enjoy bingo.

John Anderson, vice president and membership and publicity chairman of the Edisto Island Lions Club, said his organization does a lot of charitable things to help people in need who live on the island; but, by far, the fundraising event that people living in the area and visitors alike seem to enjoy most is their summer bingo program.

The games started on June 4, and will continue on every Tuesday and Thursday through August 8. The doors at the Lions Club, located on Myrtle Street, open at 6 p.m., and the bingo starts at 6:30.

“The Edisto Island Lions Club is where you can have the most fun on the beach without sun, sand, and saltwater, ” Anderson said. “What could be better than air conditioning, great people, and the chance to win a great prize or some money after a long, hot day?”

“Bingo is the only fundraiser that we do at all. We split the money from the gate tickets, and 50 percent goes to the players in prize money, and the other 50 percent goes to our charitable operations,” Anderson said. He added that concessions sold at the games go towards the building’s maintenance.

“We try to be finished and out of there between 8:00 and 8:30, and we run 15 games during that time.” Anderson said that people routinely have to be turned away due to the State Fire Marshall’s requirements. “The Fire Marshall allows a total of 300 people in the building. We have 10 workers inside, so only 290 players can be in the club at any given time while the games are underway.”

Anderson noted that much planning goes into the bingo process. “No less than 10 Lions Club members donate their time to each session of bingo, but that is only a small part of the time required to make these games run smoothly.” He added many hours of planning, purchasing prizes and items for stocking the canteen, emergency contingency training, and other related things are spent throughout the year.

People of all ages enjoy playing bingo. “The oldest player this summer was a 92-year-old World War II veteran, and he was a neat guy,” Anderson noted. He added that young children also like to get in on the games, and noted people are usually lined up, wrapped around the building, waiting to get in before the doors open.

Anderson explained that the first eight games played have a $20 prize limit. If there is more than one winner, the prize must be split amongst them. The ninth game, termed the “Stand up Game,” also has a $20 prize. “If any number on your card is called, you have to sit down, and the last person standing wins the prize.”

People relax while waiting for bingo to begin.
Photo submitted

The prize money increases during games 10-14. “The game goes back to normal bingo, but the prize varies. It is typically around $70, but it can go up to $140.” Anderson said that, because the prize of each game is announced individually, state law allows for higher cash prizes.

The prize for the 15th game is set at $150. The game is called “Blackout,” and the first person to have every number on their card closed out wins. “This is the game that everyone is waiting for,” Anderson said.

“Lions Club Bingo has been a source of great family entertainment for locals and visitors alike for many years,” Anderson said. He added, however, that the bingo program means much more than entertainment.

“When you buy your ticket at the door, you are helping to support the many projects of the Lions Club that benefit people with hearing and vision issues, as well as people with other needs here on our beautiful Edisto Island,” Anderson said. He noted these games are the only source of revenue for these projects; and, through the generosity of our participants, many thousands of dollars, over the years, have gone into projects that have benefitted the people of Edisto Island.

The Lions Club members, however, do many other charitable things for their community. In February of this year, Lions members sponsored health screenings at Jane Edwards Elementary School on Edisto Island and Minnie Hughes Elementary School in Adams Run.

At Jane Edwards Elementary, 104 children were screened. Ninety-seven students underwent a vision test, and 17 were referred to an eye specialist; 101 students were tested for their hearing ability, which resulted in five hearing referrals.

At Minnie Hughes Elementary, 135 children were screened. One hundred and thirty-three students underwent a vision test, and 23 of them were referred to an eye specialist; 133 children were tested for their hearing ability, which resulted in 11 hearing referrals.

“Either we pay the bill for these referrals, or the specialist does it gratis. We make sure that the families don’t have to pay for this,”

Other accomplishments that have been accomplished this year were: repairing a woman’s house that was damaged by fire on Highway 174 on Edisto Island; the building and installation of bicycle racks at beach accesses; the building of benches for beach accesses, which were installed by town personnel; contributed funds to Charleston-based eye institutions; contributed scholarship funds to local students; contributed over $1,600 to the Lowcountry Food Bank, which was raised by individual members at the 2012 Annual Christmas Party; and made numerous individual grants to needy Edisto Island residents.

Several committees also focus on the betterment of the beach and island communities. The Sight for Success Committee, which sponsored the above school screenings, are continually involved in the development of resources to deal with those needing help.

The Environmental Committee focuses on environmental and ecological issues on Edisto Island and the ACE Basin area. This committee actively participates in related events, such as Operation Clean Sweep, and members will dedicate other programs to this area of interest.

The Quality of Life Committee focuses on the critical housing needs within the Edisto Community by making or contributing to repairs of some of the substandard housing that exists on the island.

Lions Club Officers are: President, John Kirvin; Vice President, John Anderson; Secretary, Dave Blauch; General Treasurer, Dean Habbhegger; Bingo Treasurer, Tommy Sandel; Directors at Large, Bob Warner, Newton Hornsby, Harold Green; and Immediate Past President, John Rogers.

Committee Chairs are: Lion Tamer, Sam Lybrand; Tail Twister, Harold Green; Membership and Publicity, John Anderson; Rentals, Archie Livingston; Building Maintenance, Newton Hornsby; Bingo Director, Newton Hornsby; Social, John Rogers; Sight and Hearing, Gerald Jones; Housing Improvements (Quality of Life), Bob Warner; and Literacy, Reddick Bowman.

Rick Tobin, Editor (439 Posts)