Bingo fundraiser a major hit with NMAHA
Every Monday night and Saturday afternoon, the New Mexico Amateur Hockey Association (NMAHA) hosts bingo games at the White Rose Bingo Hall in Albuquerque’s North Valley with the proceeds helping to offset costs for NMAHA players.
The fundraiser has been going on for more than 30 years and Cindy Brown has been in charge of the sessions as the bingo manager for the past four years. She has also been involved with NMAHA since 1999, was the organization’s treasurer from 2001-09 and her son, Curtis, now 21, played competitive hockey with NMAHA from one of the first groups of Mites all the way through Midgets.
“Now he continues to help out with the NMAHA bingo as a floor worker whenever we need him,” said Brown. “The bingo customers absolutely love him.”
Last season, NMAHA raised $55,000 through the bingo games and in turn, NMAHA was able to lower registration fees for players for the coming season. NMAHA was also able to provide scholarships and help fund new equipment purchases.
“We pay out over $3500 in cash prizes every bingo session,” noted Brown. “All ages are welcome to play and we have a play room for kids. It’s the old-fashioned paper and bingo marker-style bingo, too.”
For the current 2015-16 season, NMAHA has added a Plinko game to the bingo sessions where the winner gets to play a smaller version of the Price is Right game and can win up to $250.
“She did all this with a lot of heart and dedication, plus the customers love her,” said Dorothy Elza, a parent of a former NMAHA player. “Cindy is truly remarkable.”
The fundraiser has sustained itself over the years because it is run by NMAHA alumni parents who are passionate about its purpose. Elza said they use creative ways to make the sessions fun for the customers and the parents listen to the customers.
Elza’s husband is a retired accountant and does the accounting for bingo, which helps keep the operating expenses low, and Brown runs the sessions with a skeleton crew so the lower operating expenses helps to contribute a higher profit for NMAHA.
Photo – One of NMAHA’s regular customers for bingo games, Mary, recently won $500 playing speedy bingo after she obtained the cover-all in just 52 numbers.
— Matt Mackinder