By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — St. Gabriel Archangel parishioner Tom Adams had an idea: get a group of friends together, play Bingo and raise some money for St. Gabriel School. The first parish Bingo game was played on a Wednesday night in March, 1991. A handful of players sat down in the Fantasyland Hall on N. 64th Street and cheered as Adams, and other parishioners, called out the numbers.
St. Gabriel’s parishioners have been playing Bingo weekly, mostly on Wednesday nights, during the school year for 25 years. The games moved to Finnegan’s Hall in North Kansas City some years ago.
Amy Hogan, a first grader when that initial game was played, now principal of St. Gabriel School, said the Bingo games, are a weekly fundraiser for the school.
“It’s not the Bingo played at church picnics,” she said. “The game played by our regulars is Intense Bingo.”
On March 30, the one millionth dollar was raised. Tom Adams presented that dollar to the school. It has been framed and is prominently displayed.
The remainder of the funds raised went directly into the school’s operating budget as do the proceeds from all the Bingo games. Hogan says the funds raised through the Bingo games help pay for technology, textbooks and supplies. “I never run out of funds for things like that thanks to the Bingo games,” she said.
Twenty five years after that first game, the next generation is growing up. Hogan said Tom Adams sent six children through St. Gabriel School; now two of his granddaughters attend the school. The intense bingo games may continue to be played for another 25 years or more, raising more funds for the school.