BINGO! Athol Senior Center debuts new bingo machine

  • George Fiffy calls out the numbers at Tuesday Bingo at the Athol Senior Center. He is using the new air blowing bingo machine purchased by the Council on Aging with funding provided by the Friends of the Council on Aging. Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

  • Top view of the new air blowing Bingo machine at the Athol Senior Center. —Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

  • Tuesday bingo at the Athol Senior Center. Athol Daily News/Kathy Chaisson

Staff Writer
Published: 5/8/2019 9:50:25 PM
Modified: 5/10/2019 12:55:38 PM

ATHOL – There’s a new game in town and players at the Athol Senior Center are ready, daubers in position. In early April, the Senior Center acquired a new bingo machine and game board with funding provided by The Friends of the Council on Aging.

According to Council On Aging Executive Director Cathy Savoy, bingo games were suspended for six months while funds were being raised for the new machine, which was purchased by the COA. Savoy relied on guidance from some of the more experienced players to help her decide on the right one.

The machine works similar to the kind used for lottery drawings where jets of air blow into a mix of numbered balls, sending one at a time through a chamber. The game board reveals the drawn numbers and shows the pattern of the game being played.

George Fiffy calls the numbers and a staff of three to four point people help out. Fiffy, a retired Marine, said he was asked to call the bingo games at the Senior Center because he does the same thing for the River Bend community.

The winnings may be small, but there’s another bigger payoff. “You wouldn’t believe the positive aspects of bingo,” Savoy said. “It provides exercise for the mind, and our goal is to provide a healthy, social platform for people to enjoy.” Savoy said by law, the COA has to have a charitable licensing through the state. “The rule is that any money that comes in, the same amount is going out. If you sell $50 worth of games, your payout has to be $50.”

Savoy said she would like to see an increase in attendance. Currently there are 28 players and the hall can hold up to 50.

Bingo is held every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Senior Center, 82 Freedom St. Cold beverages and snacks are available.

For more information, contact the Council on Aging office at 978-249-8986.

There is no sign up required, so it might be wise to show up B4 the seats are filled.

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