Our local CASA organization has an important mission, which is to have a safe, permanent, nurturing home for every child. Accordingly, every summer, CASA hosts Christmas in July, a fundraiser that we had the opportunity to attend and, in a small way, help positively impact children’s lives. Thanks to sponsorships by Wes and Karen Altom of Postcards Magazine and Professor Mike Yawn, we were able to attend–dressed in our Christmas and luau attire, we got ready to play (and hopefully win) bingo!
At my table, I had the honor to sit with TX Representative Kyle Kacal and his wife Marci Kacal, who were joined by Richard and Dorothy Yawn and Mac and Leanne Woodward.
To the right of us, LEAP Ambassadors Morgan and Jessica sat with School Board Trustee Ken Holland and his wife Nicole Holland; Michelle (Director of Boys and Girls Club) and Winston Spencer; and Becca (Director of Communications for Academic Affairs at SHSU) and Miles Griffin. In between bingo rounds, we learned from each of them about how their jobs impact Huntsville!
Rob Hipp with KSAM was the bingo caller for the night, and he did a wonderful job of keeping the crowd involved and entertained. By the last round of bingo, with some practice and prompting, we were pros whenever Mr. Hipp shouted “lets play…” we all answered: “BINGO!”
We all enjoyed the food provided by the City Hall Café, and we were able to participate in the raffles, silent auctions, and biddings. Unfortunately, although I put all my tickets in the drawing for a free spa, I was not very lucky.
On the other hand, Mrs. Michelle Spencer was the luckiest of us all! Just before the final round of bingo, Mrs. Spencer won a game! The prize for the win was, a free Airbnb travel package and gas card. (Photographer’s note: for those of us at her table, it was a very suspenseful few calls until the winning combo was called. We were able to snap a few candids of the Spensers before and after they won!)
As the night went on, more games were played and more winners were announced. The room was buzzing with anticipation whenever someone stood up, signifying there were only one number away from a win. “BINGOs” were heard around the room and prizes were awarded by amazing sponsors.
What we all agreed to find more enjoyable, along with the bingo of course, was the live bidding. I have personally never seen one before. This bidding was very special since the auction items were paintings created by the children who are part of the CASA program. Each painting delivered a strong message. The one I fell in love with was the painting of a silhouette of a person speaking, and the words drawn outside of the shape were “I’m fine.” Within the profile were words of how the child actually felt not having a home and being mistreated.
As the bidding went higher, some even up to $5,000, our jaws dropped, and our hearts were filled gratitude for how kind and generous the citizens of Huntsville are.
As we wrapped up the last game of bingo, we were told by the end of the night how much money was raised from this event, and once they said over $106,000, the room was filled with joy, knowing that we all were able to give back to children in need.
Many thanks to our table mates, the wonderful community of Huntsville, and, of course, many congratulations to CASA for such a successful night.