Final Small Business Bingo event raises $3,760 for The Kitchen Table

On Monday, the fourth and final Small Business Bingo fundraiser event was held at the hangar at Chicagoland Skydiving Center and raised $3,760 for The Kitchen Table, Event Organizer and AP Massage Therapy Owner Ashley Patrick said.

A total of $21,448 was raised over all 4 Small Business Bingo events

ROCHELLE — On Monday, the fourth and final Small Business Bingo fundraiser event was held at the hangar at Chicagoland Skydiving Center and raised $3,760 for The Kitchen Table, Event Organizer and AP Massage Therapy Owner Ashley Patrick said. 

The events have taken place in the community over the past two months. Small Business Bingo includes prizes donated by local small businesses with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting a nonprofit, this time being The Kitchen Table. The cost was $15 per person for 10 rounds of bingo. A cash bar and food options were available for purchase. Just over 250 people attended, Patrick said.

“I think it went really well and I'm really happy with how we finished out the series of the four fundraisers,” Patrick said. “We had almost as good of a turnout as last time, so I feel like we finished out really strong with attendance and having people interested in and excited about all of these events and continued to build off of each one.”

Monday’s event also included a canned food drive for The Kitchen Table to help with its holiday meals, and Patrick said several boxes were filled by the drive. Kris Wexell from 102.3 The Coyote was the event’s guest bingo caller and provided Small Business Bingo with its grand prize, which was tickets to see Hootie and the Blowfish with Collective Soul and Edwin McCain.

The previous three Small Business Bingo events benefited Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center, HOPE of Ogle County, and Foundation for Focus House. All four events raised $18,548 in total. Patrick said additional sponsorships were sold for bingo cards and supplies, and Flight Deck Bar & Grill sponsored the use of the CSC hangar for the final two events, bringing the grand total raised to $21,448. 

There were exactly 100 sponsors for Small Business Bingo that donated prizes, raffle baskets and made monetary donations from the Rochelle community and beyond, Patrick said. 

“That generosity and seeing people believe in what I was trying to do means a lot to me,” Patrick said. “It makes me so proud to be a part of this community. We had 100 different sponsors. That's almost all of our local businesses in town and the area. I can't believe how supportive they were and how much they wanted to get involved and be part of this. We get asked for a lot as business owners and you can't help everyone. For me, just being a random community member and business owner that decided to start a fundraiser, people were so supportive and had so much faith in me to get this done and make it happen. I'm just really grateful for that. They could have easily just told me no.”

Patrick said The Kitchen Table served 233 people at its first holiday meal this past week, and planned to serve that many people again at a second event. 

When Patrick first had the idea for hosting a fundraiser, she figured it would see 60-100 people at one event. One event quickly became four, and 60-100 people quickly became hundreds at each event. Her highest hopes for total fundraising were $4,000-5,000. 

“It's honestly hard for me to wrap my head around the entire process,” Patrick said. “My vision was just to get the ball rolling with something like this. I wanted to host a fundraiser and show people that the average person could do something to give back, and that if we all did it together we could make a really big impact. I was so blessed to do it. I've had a really hard time feeling like it's real. It's so amazing that the community and businesses and the surrounding community helped with this. I felt strongly about keeping these funds within our community and helping our own people. I find that really amazing, that we were able to pull this off with such a small amount of volunteers and people working behind the scenes. There were times I was unsure if we could make it work. In the end, I'm super proud of how everything turned out.”

Patrick said she would love to see Small Business Bingo return next fall or winter. 

“I have had so much positive feedback from businesses that liked being involved,” Patrick said. “People have asked about next year already. If I can do my part in helping organizations and getting people involved, I'd love to do that in some capacity. I'm hoping to take a break until next fall or winter when people are looking for more indoor activities. That will give me more time to plan and prepare. I've learned a lot of really good lessons with this. Besides just running a fundraiser, I've learned how much can be done when you really set your mind to something.”