Bingo! Our Lady of Malibu community enjoys school fundraiser and camaraderie

Our Lady of Malibu Principal Richard Nambu (center) is shown with kids at the 2024 Bingo Night on Thursday, Jan 25. Photo by Devon Meyers

The proceeds raised will go to pay for the children’s art, music, and tech programs

By Barbara Burke

Special to The Malibu Times

Inquisitive little ones peered at the intriguing cards with all those numbers, trying to figure out how the game worked.  Adults tenderly explained the game’s goals as community members, Our Lady of Malibu Church’s parishioners, and its school’s parents and students gathered on Jan. 25 for the school’s well-attended second annual bingo fundraiser. Attendees enjoyed pizza, pasta, salad, and of course, there were many delicious items to choose from at the bake sale.

“We’re excited for the bingo event,” Principal Richard Nambu said. “The proceeds will go to pay for the children’s art, music, and tech programs.” 

Nambu proudly showed off the school’s technology room. 

“That’s the beginning of the students’ projects as they begin to build a solar car, and over here is where the robotics team is starting to build their robot projects,” he said. “Before the pandemic, our robotics teams were very successful — they even traveled to Paris!”

Nambu warmly greeted attendees, smiling broadly as he added, “This is a community-building event and people come to enjoy, eat and gather!”

Joey Amini, a member of the school’s parent guild, whose daughter, Sienna is a first-grader, had a pleased expression as he carefully arranged all 78 donated prizes.

“This is the most fun night of the school year,” Amini said. “This event brings together all of our families who come to support our little gem of a school and we have great, amazing prizes, great food, and great company!”

Tables full of colorful prizes adorned Sheridan Hall, showcasing stuffed animals, games, T-shirts donated by local companies, and everything from dart boards to balls for all kinds of sports. There was something for everyone to enjoy winning if only … if only, one of their cards provided them with the wonderful opportunity to yell out “Bingo!”

After Nambu led a communal prayer, excited attendees were off on their bingo adventures. 

School parent Steve Graham served as emcee, announcing the drawn numbers that were displayed on an electronic flashboard. His daughter, Skylar, joined by her fellow sixth-grader, Abrianna Johnson-Mann, helped to keep track of the winners’ tallies of numbers.  

Fifth-grader Jacob Wells excitedly went to claim his prize, an entertaining game called Pie Face.

“It was hard to win!” Wells exclaimed, as he held up his winning card juxtaposed with his prize. “It was mostly luck!”

Smiling amidst all the mayhem, parishioner Aimee Handal was thoroughly enjoying the experience.

“I just like to support our parish,” Handal said. “I was baptized at Our Lady of Malibu, and when I saw the notice in the church bulletin that we were having a bingo fundraiser, I was delighted to join in.”

Across from Handal, parent Keith Rivers watched as his daughters Hazel, 9, an OLM fourth grader, and Georgia, 6, a first grader, looked around in awe, surveying all the bright lights near the bingo caller and all the toys and games at the prize tables. 

“I’m excited that Our Lady of Malibu is bringing all of us together for this fun night that helps benefit the school.” Rivers said.

As they dispersed, their tummies full of delicious food, and some of them carrying their treasured bingo prizes, attendees’ faces seemed to communally say that bingo night at OLM put the “fun” in fundraiser!