Beach Bingo draws support for the Elizabeth Richardson Center

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 131 views 

It's thrilling to holler "bingo!", but it's even better when it's for a good cause. About 200 people gathered at the UARK Bowl on Dickson Street Friday evening (July 12) to eat, drink and play bingo at the Beach Bingo Bash, a fundraiser supporting the Elizabeth Richardson Center.

For 50 years the ERC has helped people of all ages with disabilities attain a higher quality of life.

"My son has a new sense of self-worth and independence since he started working there," said April Williams.

Her son Thomas-John Stine is helped by the Elizabeth Richardson Center.

"I love the ERC because they give us a lot of support that we used to get from family before we moved here."

This was the second year for the Beach Bingo Bash, and it is one of few fundraisers for the ERC, said Kate Lunsford, ERC marketing director.

"There are a lot of fundraising events for nonprofits in the area, and we wanted a casual, fun event that everyone, including our clients, could participate in. No one has to dress up; it's super laid-back,” she explained.

Last year the event raised between $6,000 and $7,000 dollars, Lunsford said.

"We hope to raise closer to ten thousand dollars this year, but it's still a fairly new event," she said.

Most fundraising dollars came from corporate sponsorships and raffles as well as ticket sales.

The event was emceed by Jon Williams, 104.9 The X disc jockey. Williams kept the audience laughing as he joked and called out bingo numbers.

"Few nonprofits in Northwest Arkansas have the longevity of the ERC," Lunsford said. "We've always put our focus on caring for our clients, so a major fundraiser like this is still a fairly new venture for us."

The Elizabeth Richardson Center was founded in 1963 by Dr. Wade Burnside and is named for its first teacher and executive director. Originally serving just four students in the basement of a Fayetteville church, the ERC now helps hundreds of children and adults with disabilities.