BINGO: The Arc provides Christmas fun for those they serve
Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 10, 2016
Laughter filled the Knights of Columbus banquet hall on Wednesday as The Arc of Pearl River County held their Christmas Bingo event for the men and women they serve.
“The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes,” states The Arc’s mission statement.
In the past, The Arc of Pearl River County President Susette Morrow said they usually had 65 participants at social activities. But, in The Arc’s second year of undertaking the Christmas Bingo event, 145 people showed up to play and share quality time with Santa Claus.
As bingo numbers were called, shouts of “I got it” or “Bingo” were heard every now and then, followed by a smile from ear to ear by the winner after receiving a Christmas prize.
“They absolutely love coming to events like this. It gives them an opportunity to catch up with old friends and it allows them to get out,” Morrow said.
Morrow joined The Arc because she wanted her 29-year-old son, Bradley, to become involved with the social events the program provides.
“I feel like God wanted me to do this and I thank Him every day for leading me down this path,” Morrow said.
Usually the people that attend events like this are the participants of The Arc, Morrow said. However this year, a special education class from Picayune Memorial High School joined in on the fun.
“This is really important for the younger generation because once they graduate from high school, they will know that there are programs, like The Arc, and events like this where they can socialize,” Picayune Special Education Teacher Pamela Fields said.
After bingo, Santa Claus came to surprise everyone, bearing Christmas gifts for all of the participants. As Santa walked around, participants jumped up and down as they waited for their chance to take a picture and tell the man in red exactly what they wanted for Christmas.
“That was a real special moment for everyone when Santa came walking down those stairs,” Morrow said. “They all deserve to have all the fun life can provide and I hope Santa brings them everything they want this year.”
A number of volunteers handed out gifts with Santa and brought jambalaya lunch plates to every participant.
Morrow said they always welcome new volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Susette Morrow at 228-342-3095 or visit their Facebook page at The Arc of Pearl River County. To find out more about The Arc, visit arcms.org.