bingo1Friends of the Soldiers Home set a new record in 2014 by holding and participating in 47 events, up from the previous high of 41 in 2013! More than 200 people volunteered for the Friends in 2014, which is also a record high for the organization that was founded in November 2011. More than 25% of the volunteers helped out three times or more — this core group really made a difference for veterans and the community in 2014. Thank you everybody!

The grand finale for 2014 was Big Bucks Bingo on Dec. 30, featuring 11 Friends volunteers and many more Soldiers Home DC residents. Bingo is different in that it is a bit more serious than the game Friends usually volunteers for — Jingo. Volunteers helped several quick, savvy and able-bodied residents play multiple cards for bigger prizes. Lots of residents were repeat winners. Prizes were also given out for being left-handed, for sitting next to a winner, and for knowing the outcome of a football game! There were cookies, egg nog and wine. The usual camaraderie and good time was enjoyed by everyone!

Friends doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon and is grateful to give back to veterans in this way. The organization is off and running with 2015. The first event of the year is Saloon Night, Tuesday, Jan. 6, and Jingo on Thursday, Jan. 8. If you want to help out drop a line to Lori Lincoln at volunteerfriendsofsoldiers(at)gmail.com.

Story by Lori Lincoln, photos by Drew Schneider.