The solution to federal cuts that have taken a chunk of money from the Valley Program for Aging Services budget – “Bingo!”
“We had two choices that we could make – reduce the services that we provide to senior citizens in our community, or try to make money to make up the difference between what we’re being reduced from government funds and what we need to continue providing the same level of services,” said Jim Bennett, the chairman of the VPAS Board of Directors, at a volunteer training session Thursday night at the Waynesboro Senior Center.
The Waynesboro Senior Center will be home to Thursday Night Bingo beginning Thursday, Oct. 3. The goal, according to VPAS CEO Paul Lavigne, is to bring in more than $60,000 from the charitable-gaming operation in the first year.
“This gaming operation, if successful, can raise that kind of money, people can make a difference, and give us the money to help us keep our services going,” said Lavigne, who put the hit on the VPAS budget from federal cuts at $115,000 in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
That gap pushed VPAS, which provides an array of services to seniors in a five-county area in Western Virginia, including operations of seven senior centers, to be creative.
One of the ideas that came about during the examination of VPAS’s options was charitable gaming at the Waynesboro Senior Center. A study of the charitable-gaming option found the idea to be one worth pursuing.
The board of directors tasked Lavigne to develop a business plan for the operation, and six weeks ago an effort was undertaken to recruit volunteers to staff the weekly bingo nights.
One volunteer is Waynesboro Senior Center member Adrienne Elkind, who feels the bingo game nights “will be a big boost to our center, to give us some programs that we are used to having and maybe a few extras.”
Elkind sees an added benefit from having more activity at the Senior Center.
“We hope that people will be very excited to come to our bingo and see how nice our center is,” Elkind said.
More online at www.WaynesboroBingo.com.