Recreation center’s annual bingo game helps families in need

The players anxiously await the next letter to be called during the game

Recreation center’s annual bingo game helps families in need
November 23
06:00 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



The Thanksgiving season is upon us, and it’s time for the turkey and all the trimmings.  For some families, a Thanksgiving meal is not a given.  To help families in need, the Carl H. Russell Sr. Recreation Center held its annual “Bingo for Turkeys” on Friday night, Nov. 18.

The center has held this event for the past 23 years. It was sponsored by Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks, Carver Senior Citizens Club, 30th district class of Prince Hall Masons, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Food Lion and Swing Phi Swing Social Fellowship.

Carl Russell director Ben Piggott says this event started while he was the director at the William C. Sims recreation center and has grown year after year. To participate, the only requirement is to bring three canned goods per player.  Those canned goods in turn will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.

“This program is to bring the community and folks outside of the community in for a chance to win food and help others that are in distress by donating canned goods,” Piggott said.  “This came out of people wanting to give to other people.Many folks need help during the Thanksgiving holiday, and everybody deserves the right to eat.”

“Food Lion, along with my good friend Garland Scarborough, have made a major contribution.  Food Lion has been giving to this program since I was at Happy Hill.  Food Lion really believes in reaching out to people and giving to folks in need.”

There were 23 turkeys, 14 chickens, nine Cornish hens and four hams that were up for grabs during the bingo night.  It was a nice turnout from those in the community trying to win food for the holiday.

One of the winners of a turkey, Bernice Whitley, said “It’s a great experience that the recreation center is having for us, and I’m very appreciative to have won a turkey tonight.”

Another winner, Tahara Moore, added “This is my first time attending this event, and I’m very excited to have won the turkey because it’s something I could really use, since this is my first Thanksgivings back at home in nine years.”

Piggott and the staff from the rec center wanted to thank all of those that helped put the event together, such as the Turner family, Anderson High School Class of 1969, Jamie Wilkes Trophies and Awards, Carl H. Russell Sittercise class, Ronald Cauthen, Torry Myers, Terry Myers, Jean Allen, Dottie Jordan and the Winston-Salem Chronicle.

Prince Hall Mason John Lewis said, “First and foremost, I used to work here at Carl Russell and I have seen the kids coming here and not wanting to go home because they have no food to go home to, so it’s all about me giving as much as I can, whether it be time or money, if need be.  It’s been instilled in me since I was a kid to always help others as much as possible.”

William Royston, director of Recreation and Parks of Winston-Salem, said it’s great when people have small ideas and they develop into things much greater that impact the community. He commended the staff members at Carl Russell for their tireless commitment to helping the community.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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