Basket bingo raises awareness, money for ACS
Sgt. Terence Ewings,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
Soldiers, civilians and Fort Bliss personnel gathered at the Army Community Service center to support the Army Family Team Building Basket Bingo event April 27. The semiannual fundraising event raises money to offset the cost of the free child care services that ACS programs offer.
“We raise money during this event, but our goal is to also raise awareness of this and other ACS programs,” said Leba Hirsch, program manager for AFTB.
The AFTB program is an educational readiness training program designed to teach family members and Soldiers the tools to survive and thrive in the military lifestyle and is offered at every military installation.
Along with other ACS personnel and volunteers, Hirsch assisted in coordinating and conducting the Basket Bingo event, which also offered food, drinks and door prizes.
The event is labeled “basket bingo” because the prizes awarded to those who successfully win a round of bingo receive a basket filled with various coupons, snacks and gift cards from local vendors near Fort Bliss.
“Like AFTB, this event has a special place in my heart,” said Hirsch. “As a military spouse, one of the hardest adjustments I had to make was moving a lot. It’s not something you get used to, but the AFTB program assisted me in finding a place within my military community and we’re trying to ensure other spouses have these opportunities as well.”
During the fundraising event, participants compete in various bingo games including regular, U-shaped and blackout bingo. At the end of each round a basket was awarded to the winner. In the event of a tie, the winners would flip a coin and the winner of that coin toss would receive the prize basket while the second place winner receives an alternate basket or prize.
Jennifer Herbek, a military spouse and volunteer instructor with the AFTB program, believes events like this are the reason she decided to become an instructor and join the “AFTB family.”
“I have three kids, and it’s hard finding a day care or babysitter to watch them during the day,” said Herbek. “I’m fortunate enough to have a place like this that treats all volunteers and students like family, and offers them child care while they’re here trying to better themselves.”
Like many of the participants, the volunteers also brought along their children to help with calling out numbers and stamping bingo cards.
By the end of the event, almost everyone in the ACS building was a recipient of a basket or door prize.
“I didn’t know anything about the AFTB program or what basket bingo was,” said Pfc. Kylee Livovich, a networking systems operator and maintainer assigned to the 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion. “In between the rounds you can’t help but learn about the good things they do here. I came because I saw the flyer and thought it would be cool, and I really am having a lot of fun.”
Members of the Fort Bliss community that are interested in these programs should visit http://blissmwr.com.
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