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Mom, daughters win same night at Senior Center

July 23, 2014
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

It doesn't happen very often that three people in the same family win Bingo the same night, but it did on July 15 for a Lehigh mother and her two daughters, one of whom celebrated her birthday this past Friday.

"I'm pretty sure she'll buy some video games for herself on her birthday," said Millie Rivera.

"I was a winner, too, and that was fun. I've won things before but not my daughters," she laughed.

Article Photos

The lucky Bingo winners on July 15, from left to right, Millie Rivera, and her two daughters, Shamika Colon, center, and Zena at right. Zena celebrated her birthday last Friday with part of her winnings.

The two daughters are Zena Gonzalez, 19; and Shamika Colon, 27.

Zena won $250 overall and that'll buy a lot of video games.

Shamika won $100 and mom, Millie, won $50.

Theresa Cancel, executive director at the Lehigh Acres Senior Citizen Center on Plaza Drive said the three were really excited and so was everyone because it doesn't usually happen that three members of a family win the same night.

Rivera said she and her two daughters have lived in Lehigh for five years and she often visits the Bingo games at the Senior Center.

Cancel said a few weeks ago that the number of people going to play Bingo had dropped off since Season has ended many returned home up north.

During Season, there may have been as many as 150 or more playing Bingo, the numbers have dropped down to maybe half that much, but even though there was some consideration as to stopping Bingo, Cancel said the board of directors at the center decided to keep it going.

Rivera said she lived in Cape Coral for a while and came to Southwest Florida from Brooklyn, N.Y.

"Oh yeah, we were excited, when all three of us won that night," she said.

"We had our plans already as how we were going to celebrate Zena's birthday, but I know her winnings probably will cause her to spend some and save some of it," she said last week.

The three won playing Bingo on July 15.

A lot of credit in keeping Bingo games continuing during the off-season is Terry Hommen, the CFO.

"She really runs the operation and does a great job," said Cancel in her office at the senior center.

"When we had that story a few weeks ago in The Citizen about the lower turnout at our Bingo games, it caused a great turnout right after that. Maybe now that these three won Bingo will bring more people out. It really helps to support the center," Cancel said.

Bingo is played at the Senior Center every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. People can also come earlier and play an early game.

Cancel said Bingo players can buy their cards at 5 p.m.

"A lot of people come early to have a great dinner. It's only $4.50 and last week we had a meat loaf dinner with mashed potatoes and other veggies. It's all cooked by one of our volunteers, Peggie Halvorsen.

"She's the best, a great cook and the dinner is so reasonable," Cancel said.

"Playing Bingo with us on Tuesday nights is really great fun. Everyone who comes seems to enjoy it and now that some people are realizing we have that great dinner for only $4.50, we're seeing more people.

"We invite everyone to come and support us. The money we make helps us to pay our bills," Cancel said.

"So keep coming. Keep coming and maybe you'll be able to shout BINGO next week," she laughed.



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