“I liked Bingo a lot and wish I could protest,” Roger Dionne said. “I really enjoyed going, whether I won or not.”
“Now we’ll have no nights out any more,” he added.
Sacred Hearts School Principal Kathleen Blain announced the closing of Bingo in a recent Sacred Hearts Church bulletin. She noted that in addition to providing the school with income, Bingo has been a venue for social gathering and camaraderie and an opportunity for parents to fulfill their volunteer commitment. She said the decision to end Bingo was made with the support of Sacred Hearts Pastor, the Rev. John Delaney, the School Consultative Board and the Parish Finance Committee.
“Currently, our religious education program conducts classes on Sundays and Wednesdays,” the announcement stated. “In addition we have increased our athletic programs, practices and games, initiated a very popular after school drama program and plan to expand the after school offerings for 2013-2014 school year. Use of the school facilities has become a daily need.”
“We know that is disappointing news to the faithful patrons who attend Bingo weekly,” the announcement said. “And we are aware and empathetic to the fact that the dedicated leadership and volunteer staff will find it very difficult to say good-bye to this long standing program.”
Blain told The Eagle-Tribune that fundraisers are in place that will provide more than adequate monies for financial aid to make up for the loss of Bingo revenue.
Prior to last week’s Bingo game at Sacred Hearts, Maria Ouellette talked about how she began volunteering in 1994 to fulfill her parent volunteer hours. In 2003 she was hired as the game’s part-time bookkeeper, a position she said is required by the state’s lottery commission, which oversees Bingo in Massachusetts.
“We used to have about 275 people show up to play,” Ouellette said, noting that recent attendance has averaged less than 100 players. “When we instituted no smoking, we lost some patrons. But the biggest loss came about eight years ago when parent volunteering at Bingo became non-mandatory. We lost volunteers who would go from table to table selling pull tickets.”