TRURO - A group of volunteers, disabled people and seniors are concerned about whether enough money will come in to keep the Disabled Consumers Society of Colchester (DCSC) bingo operating once a new gaming centre begins operating in the former Convergy's building at the Truro Power Centre.
The bingo games run by the society cover the cost of the Able Transit bus, aids for the disabled, a bookkeeper/dispatcher, maintenance of the hall and employees, and assists with drug plans.
"If there is no bingo there will be no Able Transit," said Joan Forbes, president of the DCSC board. "It is the only fundraiser we have. Bingo is just surviving now. We're lucky to get 100 a night. If we lose 10 to 15 a night we probably won't survive."
The Able Transit bus has about 150 regular users with approximately 20 using it each day. It makes 450 to 500 trips each month.
"Three days a week it provides transport for the VON adult day program, one a week the stroke club and twice a day, five times a week, it takes the Colchester Community Workshops clients to and from work," explained Forbes. "The Mira uses it for clients to get to medical appointments, shopping and outings. It's also used by Vimy Court, Parkland Estates and Cedarstone. Seniors and those who are disabled and living in their homes also use it to get around."
The bus takes society members to meetings and a variety of activities, such as bowling.
"If we lose the bus it will be devastating to a lot of people," said DCSC board member Willis Belliveau. "Without the bus a lot of people won't get out. It costs about $100,000 a year to operate the bus. It's a big expense but it's very important to many people for their quality of life.
Larrie Stevens, another board member, said that the funds raised through bingo have brought happiness to many people.
"The benefit we get from what we do is to see someone smile when they get something like a wheelchair," he explained. "When we took people across the bridge to PEI they were so happy. They said they didn't think they would ever have the chance to cross."
The organization, which formed in 1981, has been operating the Able Transit bus for about 25 years.
"We might have to sell the bus to keep the group afloat until money runs out, then we'd have to stop doing anything," said Belliveau.
The DCSC does not receive any government funding.
Bingo at the Truro Power Centre is being established by the non-profit Millbrook Community Bingo Society and the facility is scheduled to open between mid-October and early November. It will run games Wednesday to Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
DCSC board members were surprised when they read about the new centre in the Truro Daily News as they had not heard anything about it before the story appeared.
They currently hold bingo games on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings. Minor hockey runs bingo at the hall on Sundays and uses the money raised to help with the cost of equipment, referees and ice time.
The DCSC board members stressed they aren't trying to say others should not have bingo but they are extremely concerned for the future of their organization.