EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 18, 2013

Rolling the dice to help end poverty

Methuen Village hosting Casino Night to benefit Lazarus House

By Jill Harmacinski
jharmacinski@eagletribune.com

---- — METHUEN — Sean Fountain learned how to play Blackjack from some of the best pros around.

Last year, when he attended Casino Night at Methuen Village, a senior living community right off Broadway, some residents took the city council president under their wings and showed him how to be a 21 winner.

“They taught me how to play Blackjack. It was awesome,” Fountain admits.

The staff and residents at Methuen Village at Riverwalk Park are now organizing their annual Casino Night fundraiser which benefits the Lazarus House Ministries of Lawrence.

Scheduled for Oct. 3 from 6 to 10 p.m., Methuen Village organizers are accepting donations, prizes and raffles and looking for sponsors for the event. Sponsors who pay $100 will have their logo displayed on a big screen all night at the Casino event.

The public is invited to attend Casino night for just a $25 donation.

For Casino Night, the Methuen Village building itself is transformed into a mini-Foxwoods-like casino. Victor Casado, Methuen Village’s own on-site chef, prepares an array of hors d’oeuvres for the event.

“There are professional dealers and they bring in all kinds of tables ... It’s like walking into a very small part of the Vegas strip,” said Kathleen Corey Rahme, the Village’s social director.

Fountain described last year’s Casino night, which netted $6,000 for Lazarus House, as “an unbelievable atmosphere.”

“There was ice sculptures, incredible food. All kinds of different beverages. Great raffle prizes. It was a very, very upscale environment,” he said. “It was probably the nicest event I’ve been to in Methuen.”

Above all, Fountain said he was impressed to see the Village residents themselves enjoying the event and partaking in casino games. And, of course, offering gaming tutorials to the younger folks.

“I’d never played Blackjack before but some of the residents got together and taught me. I won a ton of chips,” said Fountain, 41.

The mission of Lazarus House Ministries is to move individuals and families out of poverty. In July, Methuen Village held a Christmas in July non-perishable food drive for Lazarus House, realizing the need for food is a year-round problem. “The pantries get depleted in summer,” Corey Rahme said.

Next month, Methuen Village management, including Executive Director Gregory Batchelder, is volunteering in the Lazarus House meal center serving dinners.

Methuen Village opened in 2009 at 4 Gleason St., providing assisted living services for seniors and specialized care for elders with memory-related problems. Residents there regularly welcome the public for events, including National Night Out earlier this month. Methuen police and firefighters stopped by the Village to share ice cream with the residents there.

“We’re just another neighborhood in Methuen,” Corey Rahme noted.

For more information about Casino Night, check out MethuenVillage.com or call (978) 685-2220.

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Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.