Jewish Family & Career Services

Bingo Project Gives Back to the Community

Since the pandemic began, one of our highest priorities as an agency has been to ensure our clients and our community have food security. The JFCS Sonny & Janet Meyer Food Pantry adapted our traditional shopping model to pivot to a contactless drop-off and delivery service and we expanded our open food pantry to our surrounding zip codes for any community member who may need supplemental food.  

We purchase staple food pantry items from Dare to Care, and community donations supplement the pantry with variety and specialty items. Through the value of Kehilah, connections that build community, our friends at Temple Shalom have shown us how a community can come together for a good cause – and some good BINGO fun!  

Ed Gould and John Silletto from Temple Shalom began the Bingo Project in 2019 with 80 other Temple Shalom volunteers. After pausing during the height of the pandemic, they resumed collecting food and personal care items in May of 2021 and the results have been astonishing. In 52 sessions, the Bingo Project has raised over $100,000 for Temple Shalom and collected and donated over 2,500 pounds of food and supplies to the Sonny & Janet Meyer Food Pantry.  

This collection effort doesn’t just magically happen – it is the product of Kehilah in action. First, JFCS Volunteer Manager Avery Markel emails Ed weekly to inform him of any food or personal care items that our pantry especially needs. Ed selects three of the most needed items and messages them to the over 900 Bingo players on his ever-growing mailing list. Any player who donates one of the special items receives a Deluxe Bingo Dauber in return (and any true Bingo aficionado knows that dauber quality makes all the difference). After collecting about 90 food items weekly, superstar volunteer Tami Penner delivers the items to JFCS, where they are weighed and shelved. Now the food is ready for our clients. In just the past two months, over 100 households have received deliveries or shopped for food in-person.  

We graciously thank Ed Gould, John Silletto, all the volunteers from the Temple Shalom Bingo Project, and, most importantly, the players who donated food and supplies to JFCS. When the community was asked, they delivered. Just last month over 3,800 pounds of food were distributed to our clients, and the amazing volunteers and bingo players helped make it happen. 

If you’d like to learn more about The Bingo Project, please contact Ed Gould. Bingo is held Monday evenings at 7:30 p.m. at Breckinridge Bingo Hall at 3441 Breckinridge Lane. Visit the Facebook Page here