“G58 … B5 … O68,” are the sounds of Bingo, usually played in a large room crowded with people sharing personal space and groans or enthusiastic shouts when their same-air-sharing neighbor wins. It’s not generally an activity geared toward flattening the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Fort Lee Family Housing found a way to play the game safely with its residents.
The Hunt Military Community staff and its patrons play online during “Monday Mash” Facebook Bingo to keep them connected during the social isolation created to stave off the virus.
It seems to be a hit with the residents as a number of them have played both games posted so far.
“The games, contests and activities that we’re doing and posting online is a way to help our residents engage with each other,” explained Charleen Herriott, HMC community director. “We also provide informational content to help families wade through these unchartered waters.”
Herriott and her team members put together a variety of initiatives to post throughout the week such as Monday’s bingo, where digital bingo cards are sent out each week, and the numbers are posted every 30 minutes starting at 10:30 a.m. until someone replies, “Bingo,” and sends Hunt their cards to be verified for a prize.
“We do “Trivia Tuesday” where residents answer different questions about HMC,” Herriot said, “and we have “Wacky Wednesday,” which could be sidewalk art or something else creative.
“We have amazing artists in our Fort Lee Family Housing community and look forward to seeing more.”
Nine-year-old Michael Lee, Jr. won the first round of “Wacky Wednesday” by earning the most likes with his chalk painting of colorful stars surrounding Charlie Brown and Snoopy under the words, “Inspiration is everywhere.”
His mother Marlyn Lee posted that her son was so happy to have won the contest. She and her two children participated in the “Thankful Thursday” as well, where Hunt staff asked residents to ask their kids what they are thankful for during this stressful time in their lives.
“My kids said, ‘We are thankful to have a simple life and wonderful parents. We are also grateful to have everything that we have right now,” Lee posted proudly.
She concluded with a final thought that Michael added, “We’re also blessed because God gave us the gift of life, and as a big brother, I’m so thankful for my little sister Mikayla who makes me happy every time I wake up.”
Insert moment here to grab a tissue.
Other Family Housing activities on Facebook include:
- “Fieldtrip Friday” - virtual tours of museums, theme parks, national geographic and zoos.
- “Sanity Saturday” - posts of information centered on wellness, exercise, health and more.
- “Soulful Sunday” - posts of inspiring stories or quotes to create positive vibes and well-being for residents.
“In addition to the above, we also are featuring a pet of the day from our employees,” Herriott added. “And we’ll have crafts, LEGO®challenges, dancing and singing contests, and paint and drawing contests.”
They have only been doing this a couple of weeks now but are already making big plans for April as they will be honoring military children during the Month of the Military Child. They have launched their inaugural “Hunt Little Heroes” program to start collecting stories to be shared.
Family Housing’s Facebook page explained that Hunt Little Heroes celebrates the special moments that make military families and their children heroes right in their communities. As part of the program, they want children of military families to share their “Hero Story” of what it takes to be a hero and how they’ve been a positive influence in the community. The program is open to children of all military families, and applicants must be between the ages of 4 and 15. For more information about the program and how to apply visit www.ecs.page.link/oCVSy.
“Throughout this time of physical and social distancing, we are focusing on content that will help lift up our residents’ and staff’s spirits,” Herriott concluded. “We want to be present and there for each other.”
For more information about Family Housing’s activities and the information they are providing, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fortleefamilyhousing/.