Bingo at VA Hospital
Event Type: Bingo at VA Hospital
Contributors: Erik "DUFF" Walschburger, Alpha Lambda
Location: VA Hospital in Philadelphia, PA
Materials required: Game prizes were picked up at a local dollar store and included items that the residents could use such as stationary, combs, socks, deodorant, shaving cream, cookies, pens, etc.
Event Summary: The Philadelphia VA Hospital has a long-term care unit (similar to a retirement home) that is for disabled veterans. On several occasions, Brothers would go to the VA Hospital mid-morning and spend a couple of hours playing BINGO with the residents. This event was always a highlight to the residents who were told in advance of our upcoming visits. As soon as the Brothers walked in the front door, the VA Staff would make an announcment on the PA system letting everyone know that Phi Sigma Pi was in the building. On at least one occasion, the brothers sang the Temple University fight song through the PA system.
The VA Hospital had a BINGO system, which included a tumbler for the numbered balls as well as a lighted display board. They also had several containers full of reusable BINGO cards, which were generally given out two-at-a-time to the residents. One or two brothers would call out the numbers and make sure the display board was working properly. The staff would point out residents who needed extra help and a brother would sit with each of these residents. The rest of the brothers would walk around the room making sure there were no problems and helping to check winning cards.
This was a great event because it required little prep work and provided excitement and satisfaction to the residents. The residents really looked forward to the Phi Sigma Pi visits (including one visit which we turned into a cookout) and we would generally have about 25 residents playing each time we showed up.