Next Small Business Bingo fundraiser event is Sept. 18 in Rochelle

On Sept. 18, a Small Business Bingo fundraiser event will be held at Salt 251 in Rochelle to benefit HOPE of Ogle County.

$4,510 total raised for Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center from last month’s event

ROCHELLE — On Sept. 18, a Small Business Bingo fundraiser event will be held at Salt 251 in Rochelle to benefit HOPE of Ogle County. 

The bingo event will have prizes donated by local small businesses with 100 percent of proceeds benefiting HOPE of Ogle County. The cost is $15 per person for 10 rounds of bingo. A cash bar and food options will be available for purchase. The fundraiser, hosted by AP Massage Therapy and its owner, Ashley Patrick, had its first event last month and saw a turnout of over 150 people and raised $2,255 for Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center. Those funds were matched by Salt 251 Owner Jim Withers for a total of $4,510 in funds raised. 

Two more Small Business Bingo events will be held Oct. 26 (to benefit Focus House)  and Nov. 13 (to benefit The Kitchen Table). All events will be held 5-7 p.m. in the banquet room of Salt 251 at 531 S. 7th St. The event page and more details can be found on the AP Massage Therapy Facebook page. 

The idea for the fundraiser was conceived by Patrick and she’s spent recent months working on putting it on. 

"I just really think it's important to have these organizations in our community,” Patrick said. “I wanted to be able to do something to shed light on the services and the people that they can provide services for and bring more awareness to that. There are nonprofits that I'm already involved with and donate to personally, so I wanted to be able to do something on a bigger scale to help spread awareness and support them."

Close to 80 local small businesses have donated gift baskets or merchandise for bingo prizes for the events or have had representatives help run them the day of, Patrick said.

“They were very generous,” Patrick said. “I'm so happy to be part of such a generous and giving community. They all were really receptive to what I was doing and excited about it. I love seeing people get on board when I have these ideas, especially for a good cause to be able to give back to something.”

When she first came up with the idea, Patrick’s most aspirational goal was to have 100 people attend one of the fundraisers. She was “blown away” to see 150 people attend the first event and hopes each event will build off the one before it. 

“It was just such a rewarding and fulfilling feeling to see the idea I had come to fruition and so many people be supportive of what I was trying to do,” Patrick said. “Especially having Jim from Salt 251 match my donation to double the proceeds to give Shining Star, that was such an indescribable feeling. I feel like the event went above and beyond what I had expectations for. I expected to have a good turnout because I knew how many people RSVPed, but the generosity and support of everyone that came and made monetary donations or bought raffle tickets and played bingo was just really awesome to see."

The work to put Small Business Bingo together has been “a huge undertaking, but worth it” for Patrick. She’s spent time coordinating with small businesses that have made donations and the venue. This is her first time organizing a fundraising venture. 

The relationships built in Rochelle’s small business community have been fruitful for Patrick as she’s organized the bingo fundraiser. 

“Just knowing that they are reaching out to me and wanting to donate and be part of it shows how much our small businesses are the heart of our community,” Patrick said. “They are so giving and they want to get involved. Sometimes maybe they don't have the idea themselves, but they're excited to get on board and be part of it. I think that's so important to have those relationships I've built with the other businesses in my community.”

Patrick hopes that each of the next three events will be bigger than the last and she plans to have room for growth to accommodate more attendees. She’s already had more people RSVP for the September event than attended the August event. 

“I hope as far as fundraising, my ultimate goal is just to keep them all pretty even,” Patrick said. “I hope that I can do all of them justice and have all four events be successful enough that we raise funds that are pretty equal for all four of the organizations. I'd love to see them all have a really great turnout."