Bingo! Neighbors find creative ways to stay connected

When the going gets tough, the tough play bingo. And not just any kind of bingo.

On Feb. 15, around 35 members of the Village’s 110 Club played “Quarantine Bingo Zoom,” and it seems they had a swell time.

They played the age-old game with special cards bought online that were embossed with symbols associated with the pandemic, such as masks and hand sanitizers.

The Laguna Woods Village 110 Club’s Quarantine Bingo cards, bought online, have symbols associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.(Courtesy of Levin family)

Because of the lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zoom game took the place of the club’s long-standing monthly wine and cheese gatherings held at members’ homes.

Gift bags were delivered the day before to those participating. Designed by club member CJ Kagamaster, each gift bag was adorned with a heart and a greeting: “Consider this card a hug from your 110 friends.”

“When the idea came up, I thought, bingo — oh, no, ho-hum. But when I looked at the bingo card, I thought how clever,” said 110 Club Secretary and member Wendy Levin.

“The participants were awarded prizes that were useful during the pandemic, such as bottles of hand sanitizer, liquid hand soap, a ‘deluxe’ prize of a combination of hand sanitizer, liquid hand soap, and a book to read,” said Levin, a 14-year Village resident.

“Everyone agreed that it was a fun way to get together virtually,” she said. “I intend to keep my Quarantine Bingo card as a memento of this memorable chapter in my life.”

This wasn’t the first Zoom event for the 110 Club, whose members live in the Village’s “110 neighborhood” inside Gate 9.

Founded in 1983, the 110 Club typically meets once a month — at 5 p.m. the last Monday of the month (except for December and January) for a wine and cheese get-together.

“The wine and cheese events, which we have been doing since the club was founded, are great,” Levin said. “You truly get to know your neighbors and see other members’ houses, maybe get a remodel idea or just ogle.

“We do have dues, which help purchase items for the wine and cheese and the setup for the host.”

The 110 Club has had three virtual events in the pandemic, Levin said.

“We tried to come up with a way to keep all of the members connected – that’s why around April or May we decided to do virtual Zoom ideas that were conversational along with activities that had a theme,” she said.

The first event was in May and was a conversational Zoom gathering with small gift bags delivered beforehand that were filled with mini bottles of wine, cheese, and other snacks to “nosh on while Zooming,” Levin said.

It was a hit, she said.

In December, the 110 Club invited members to show their favorite holiday ornaments, such as menorahs or Christmas tree decorations or favorite holiday cards from the past — all “virtually to get the conversation started, again via Zoom,” Levin said.

An event midyear was “Mask-er-ade”: Members were invited to showcase their favorite quarantine masks.

“Some of them were glamorous and highly decorated by the wearer, or bought from a boutique mask-maker, some were humorous and homemade, some people wore Halloween-type masks, and we had to guess who they were (unless their name was already showing on their Zoom square ID),” Levin said. “I showed one that my daughter made for me and sent me from Chicago shortly after we were asked to shelter in place.”

Club members RoseAnn and Greg Corigliano have appreciated the events: “The 110 Club is so great to continue through this pandemic with a feeling of belonging and togetherness. The club has done such a wonderful job with the bingo and other events and to keep us laughing and seeing each other.

“Thank you, guys, for keeping us still a part of the very strong nucleus that we are. It was a fun time and more to come.”

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