Virtual bingo began as a desperate diversion during the early days of COVID.
Now entering its fourth year, the weekly games continue — and continue to raise money for worthy causes.
Bingo on Zoom was started by Stan Witkow. He and his wife Susan still host them, from their Westport home: the Bingodrome. (They also host when they’re traveling — something they enjoy doing, now that COVID has eased.)
Run for half hour every Thursday, beginning at 7:30 p.m., it’s “pay to play.” But each week, the winner donates their haul to charity.
Each winner chooses his or her favorite organization.
A screenshot from the virtual Bingo game.
The original charities were pandemic-related. They now range from local non-profits to international ones, like World Food Kitchen and others aiding Ukraine.
There’s also a booby prize for the biggest loser. It’s underwritten by Phyllis Hirschfield and Sid Schnoll.
The Witkows’ game began with their Westport friends. Today it draws players from around the country. Many have never met in person.
Some never miss a game. Others join when they can. There’s no commitment (other than to have fun, and pony up $5).
For all they’ve done for 3 years’ worth of charities, Stan and Susan Witkow are this week’s Unsung Heroes. Thank you!
PS: To buy your $5 bingo card, join the game and support your favorite non-profit, email Stan@Witkow.com. (Hat tip: Jennifer Pressman)
(Do you know an Unsung Hero? Email email@example.com)
(“Unsung Hero” is a weekly feature of “06880.” Please click here to support your hyperlocal blog. Thank you!)
The long-rumored subdivision of one of Westport’s last remaining large residential open spaces is moving forward.
The first agenda item on the Planning & Zoning Commission’s April 4 meeting (7 p.m., Zoom) is an application for 6 building lots at 109 Morningside Drive South. That’s the property owned by the Kowalsky Family, off Clapboard Hill Road.
In the early days of the pandemic — when everyone hungered for human interaction, and Zoom was a novelty — Stan Witkow organized a virtual Bingo game.
Each week, players from Westport — and around the globe — competed. The winner donated his or her winnings to any charity of his or her choice.
In 2 years, players raised more than $20,000 for COVID-related non-profits.
The game continues. Now though, the weekly pool will support Ukrainian relief efforts. Witkow and friends created a list of reliable organizations from which winners can choose. So far, nearly $1,000 has gone to help Ukraine.
Wakeman Town Farm welcomes Easter with its 5th annual “EGGstravaganza.”
On Saturday April 9 (10 to 11;30 a.m.), families can bring egg baskets to WTF. Two hunts (ages 4 and under, and 5 and up) kick off the morning, followed by egg-themed games, story time readings, photos with Big Bunn and visits to the farm’s real animals.
New this year: Families can “adopt” a chicken, and meet and name it there.
Tickets are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for tickets, and more information.
Last fall, the Westport Woman’s Club put out a call to non-profits needing assistance.
A few days ago, 29 organizations got their wish. The WWC handed out $39,000 in grants, to:
Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders; Bridgeport Rescue Mission; Burroughs Community Center; Caroline House; Center for Family Justice; Child Advocates of Southwestern Connecticut; Circle of Care for Families of Children with Cancer; Circle of Friends; CLASP Homes; Domestic Violence Crisis Center; ElderHouse; Family & Children’s Agency; Food Rescue US; Help for Kids; Homes with Hope; Human Services Council/Children’s Connection; Malta House; Person-to-Person; Positive Directions; REACH Youth Program at Bridgeport Hospital; Regional Hospice of Western Connecticut; St. Catherine Center for Special Needs; Sweet P Bakery; The Rowan Center; VFW; Westport Department of Human Services Family and Elderly Programs; Westport Community Theatre; Women’s Mentoring Network.
The Westport Woman’s Club has been helping others since 1907. Here’s to the next 115 years!
It was touch and go, but I survived last night’s monster storm.
You can see the damage to my patio in the photo below. As soon as things ease up, I’ll head outside and clean up that newspaper wrapper that blew in from somewhere. Wish me luck!
All told, 5 (!) Westport customers lost power. Three are still out.
But the storm that missed our town hit other parts of the state. At its height, over 56,000 Eversource customers were out. As of noon, service had been restored to 30,000. Sharon was the worst hit locality, with 70% of customers powerless.
Early in the pandemic, Stan Witkow started a virtual Bingo game. Winners donated their pots to a non-profit of their choice.
Players came from around Westport — and around the country. Each week, the game grew.
Now, Stan says, virtual bingo ends 2020 having raised $10,200.
“My wife Susan and I think this may be one of the best things we’ve ever done. We can ‘t believe how committed friends, neighbors and strangers (to us) have been to this effort.”
Major beneficiaries have been Connecticut Food Bank, Homes with Hope, Bridgeport Hospital’s special COVID relief fund, and numerous other organizations here and around the US.
And, Stan reports: “Best of all, everybody wants the game to continue next year. So it will!”
A scene from the Virtual Bingo game.
Christmas wreath, 2020-style:
As of yesterday, Westport had 884 COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic (772 confirmed, 67 suspected). The number of new cases in the week — 45 — was down slightly from the previous week.
There were no deaths from COVID within the past 7 days. Our cumulative total is 25. Click here for a full statewide report.
In May 0f 2019, Long Lots Elementary School 4th grader Brett Malizia wanted to help his friend and classmate Eden Kopreski. She had just been diagnosed with leukemia. He raised funds by running in a 5K race and half-marathon.
Brett — now 12 – is doing it again. This Sunday (December 27) he’ll do the Sono half marathon.
It’s a virtual event — every participant runs on his or her own — so there will be no crowds cheering. Brett’s mom — Westport native Ursual Richards Malizia — asked on social media for people to make posters. They’ll line the route, as a nice surprise for him.
Another way to support: Click here for a GoFundMe page. Money raised goes to help defray Eden’s medical expenses, as well as to a leukemia survivor organization.
Ursula and Brett Malizia
A Westport resident found the items below — and newspaper clippings, and more — at 378 Main Street, near Coffee An’. If they’re yours — or you know who they belong to — email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So how did you spend your Christmas Eve day?
These guys obviously finished their shopping, and had nothing else to do, so …
And here was the scene a day later: 12:30 this afternoon…
And finally … in the spirit of world peace, here is an African carol from Staples High School’s Candlelight Concert. It’s from 2010 — but it never gets old.
Posted onJuly 18, 2020|Comments Off on Roundup: Bingo; Bridgeport Rescue Mission; Flowers; More
Stan Witkow reports that the weekly virtual bingo game just crossed the $5,000 mark.
Anyone can play. The winner chooses a non-profit to receive his or her winnings.
Homes With Hope has been a major recipient of the weekly winnings, receiving $1,235. Other include Bridgeport Hospital’s COVID-19 Response Fund, Connecticut Food Bank and Harvest Island food pantry on Long Island.
Players come from across the country. Some are Westport ex-pats living in Florida, and stranded in California.
Games are every Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Newcomers are welcome. Email email@example.com for details.
A scene from the Virtual Bingo game.
Ariana Napier reports that during the pandemic, Bridgeport Rescue Mission is providing twice as many meals and 3 times as many grocery bags as before.
Requests for donations have not stopped. She’s not stopping either.
She and generous Westporters have donated 1,395 pounds of food and other items so far. Just 605 pounds more are needed to make 1 ton.
Items most in need:
Peanut butter and jelly (plastic)
Cereal (family size)
Macaroni & cheese (box)
Canned soup, stew, beans .
Items can be dropped off in bins at Ariana’s driveway (14 Jennings Court). Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday’s Westport Garden Club #FridayFlowers arrangement celebrated the reopening of the Westport Library. The beautiful flowers were created by Beverly Stanley and Laurie Holst, left and right respectively in the photo below.
And finally … sure, no one likes wearing masks. But it’s an order. It’s an important way to stop the spread of COVID-19. It’s no big deal. Just put on your mask, and then …
Comments Off on Roundup: Bingo; Bridgeport Rescue Mission; Flowers; More
Yesterday, 1st Selectman Marpe announced the formation of a ReOpen Westport Advisory Team. Members will “seek input from local business and community leaders” so that the community can move forward “in both an overall and segmented way.”
2nd Selectman Jen Tooker chairs the group. More details about the ReOpen team — including, presumably, members — will be announced Monday.
Marpe says, “Westport will continue taking the lead from the state of Connecticut and health experts, but will simultaneously ensure that the status of COVID-19 and the local needs within Westport take precedence to any re-opening decisions.”
Most Post Road businesses remain closed. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)
A wee — but welcome — bit of Westport returns today.
There’s curbside ordering only (via joeysbytheshore.com). You’ll need to keep your social distance too, of course.
But there’s no better place to do it than there, and no better folks to do it for than Joey Romeo and Betsy Kravitz.
Betsy Kravitz, Joey Romeo and …
… a very happy customer. (Photos/Dan Woog)
Readers: on your marks!
The Westport Library has announced a Summer Reading Challenge. There are 25 “challenge lists.” The goal is to read at least one book from as many challenges as you can.
There’s a form to submit after each one — and a leader board, because hey, there are no baseball standings to follow.
The challenges are challenging. They include a book that spans generations; that makes you laugh (and another that makes you cry); about an election; from the teen collection, and about a battle. Click here for all 25.
The “competition” runs through September 7.
Sure, the weather is beautiful this weekend. But if you’re looking for another reason (besides COVID-19) to stay inside, here’s one: Complete the census.
This weekend, as I’m sure you know, is Census Digital Action Weekend. I’m not sure what that means, but click here for the link.
Stan Witkow provides another update on his weekly Thursday Virtual Bingo game. (That’s the one where anyone can join — and the winner chooses a charity to get the buy-in pot.)
This week they surged past $1,200 overall. The recipient was Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger. The “house” made a special $25 donation to the Connecticut Food Bank too.
For more information, email Stan@witkow.com.
A scene from the Virtual Bingo game.
The Staples High School girls soccer team is collecting food for the Gillespie Center.
Needs include canned chicken, low-sugar cereal, canned vegetables (low sodium), canned fruit (low sugar), peanut butter and jelly, dry mil envelopes, pasta sauce, rice, hearty soup, mac and cheese, crackers, salad dressing, and ketchup, mustard and mayo.
Toiletries and cleaning supplies like shampoo, soap, deodorant, tooth care and feminine products, dish soap, laundry detergent, sponges, cleaners and bleach are great too.
The drop-off location is 12 Indian Hill Road. For more information, email email@example.com.
And finally … it’s Saturday! So of course tonight that means:
Everyone loves “A Chorus Line.” Especially anyone who’s ever been in it.
That includes Alisan Porter.
The former Staples High School actor/singer (and “Curly Sue” movie star, and “The Voice” winner) played Bebe in the Broadway revival of that epic show.
It closed in 2008. But 44 cast members leaped — literally — at the chance to dance in a video: “A Chorus Line in Quarantine.” From around the world — in living rooms, kitchens, on decks and apartment rooftops and in their yards and streets — they sent clips of themselves reprising the opening number.
The montage is amazing. And there — at the 1:46 mark — is our own Alisan. Enjoy! (Hat tip: Susan Thomsen)
One of the bright spots of the pandemic is the number of young people who are doing great things to help.
Staples High School student Natalie Bandura launched “Masks That Matter.” She and other teenagers sew washable, reusable homemade cotton masks, then distribute them to Westporters and others in need.
Whether you need a mask or want to help make them, click here. The website is clean and easy to navigate.
Natalie hopes to supply everyone in Westport who needs one with with a mask. Together, she says, “we can help flatten the curve here in town.”
Nearly a month ago, in the early days of the pandemic, a group of Westporters started a virtual bingo night. They play every Thursday, from across the country (all have Westport ties). The winner chooses a non-profit to get the buy-in pot.
So far, they’ve given away nearly $500. Last week’s winner picked the Gillespie Center. For more information, email Stan@witkow.com.
A scene from the Virtual Bingo game.
Meanwhile, Molly Alger notes that the Fine Wine Company in Compo Shopping Center offers this good-looking (and tasty) new mask:
Speaking of signs, Darcy Hicks felt compelled to post this in the house she’s self-isolating in with a lot of guys. Okay, they’re her husband and sons, but still…
And finally … we started today’s Roundup with a former Staples Players star. Here’s a song from another.
P!nk offers an inspiring version of “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman.” Which of course was written by 2003 graduate Justin Paul, and his partner Benj Pasek.
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