Bingo Night Benefits Mills County Cancer Patients
For almost a quarter century, the Keith Klan has been raising money for cancer research and services for cancer patients.
From 2000-2019, members of the Keith Klan raised nearly $157,000 for the Mills County Relay For Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. More recently, the members of the Keith family have focused their fundraising for the Jennie Edmundson Foundation, which provides direct support services to cancer patients in Mills County.
The Jennie Edmundson Foundation is the designated recipient of “Bingo Night” proceeds raised every other Wednesday evening at the Mills County Historical Museum’s “ZEUM” building at Glenwood Lake Park. The twice-monthly Bingo Nights began in February and have already raised hundreds of dollars for the foundation.
“Those dollars are basically going to support people in vulnerable positions,” said Rachel Reis, Director of Volunteer Services and Foundation at Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs. “Whether they’re going through cancer treatment and they need some financial support or its that they have some other health issues that are not allowing them to basically maintain their health or live."
Reis stressed the dollars raised on Bingo Night stay in the community and go directly to Mills County residents.
“Those dollars go towards helping with transportation, with medications or doctor’s visits,” she said.
Mills County is one of only a handful of counties in Iowa that doesn’t have a hospital, which means many residents from the area go to Jennie Edmundson Hospital for many enhanced and specialized medical services.
“Through a program we call ‘Caring For Our Communities’ we have been working to expand that and really deepen what we do in Mills County because we know Mills County is a primary source that gets fed into Jennie and into the clinics we have,” Reis said.
Members of the Keith family coordinate the Bingo Nights, which have become not only a popular social event for Glenwood-area residents but also an opportunity for the museum’s board of director to show off their renovated social hall. Bingo Night always includes a meal served by museum volunteers, with a revolving menu ranging from BBQ pork sandwiches to burgers and brats. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are also available.
On a recent Wednesday Bingo Night, more than 70 people came out to play 12 games of Bingo and socialize with friends and family. Some of the players are more serious about winning than others and most play more than one card at a time. There’s a variety of Bingo games played, too, just to change things up. Games like “Postage Stamp” (four numbers in one corner of the card), “Four Corners” and “Blackout.” There’s also a raffle.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Woody Wright who was playing along side his son, Jeremy. “It’s good entertainment and it’s going to a good cause. The Keith Klan always makes everyone feel welcome.”
The next Bingo Night is tonight (March 22). Future dates are April 5, April 19, May 3, May 17 and May 31. Bingo begins at 6:30 sharp but doors open at 5 p.m. Many of the Bingo players come early and enjoy a meal before the games begin.