Burnside Bingo seeks new image under new charity

From staff reports

A new nonprofit organization in Sioux Falls is working to redefine the image of bingo halls and raise money for organizations that serve children.

Giving Hope Inc. has taken over Burnside Bingo at 1605 W. Burnside St., which was formerly operated by Youth Enrichment Services.

“My passion is to give back to this community,” said Neil Hlebichuk, president of Giving Hope.  “I want to be a conduit to help other great organizations that serve youth.”

As a staff member at Feeding South Dakota for two years, Hlebichuk saw how families struggled to feed their children. He saw other needs in the community when he owned a pizza restaurant. Knowing that some elementary schools didn’t have the funds to throw pizza parties, Hlebichuk would provide the food for free so those students could have the same experience as other children in different neighborhoods.

Seeing those needs and many others in the town where he grew up led Hlebichuk to create Giving Hope and take over Burnside Bingo.


Image of bingo players

Players mark their cards during a family fun night at Burnside Bingo.

But he knew that the bingo hall wouldn’t have a long-term future without changes. Hlebichuk wants to see it as a destination for families and groups of friends, and as a fundraising option for organizations such as athletic booster clubs.

Family nights are on the third Monday of the month. For $15 per person, a family can get dinner and  11  games of bingo, and the kids get a chance to win a drawing  for an item such as a Kindle Fire. Hlebichuk said bingo prizes are things the whole family can enjoy — passes for Sky Zone, gift cards to Build-a-Bear Workshop and restaurants, and movie tickets.  Proceeds from the family nights are donated to an organization that serves children.

Image of bingo cards

A player marks her cards at a family fun night at Burnside Bingo.

On Monday and Tuesday nights, Burnside Bingo is inviting organizations to hold fundraisers there. Groups can sign up for a night and then invite people to attend. The hall can seat 300 people. Once the costs of the event are met, the organization gets the rest of the money.

Open bingo nights with 30 games are Wednesday through Sunday, and there are afternoon sessions Friday through Sunday. Giving Hope is setting up an application process that will allow organizations and schools to apply for grants from those proceeds. The group’s mission is “to positively impact the lives of children and families by supporting organizations that serve youth through feeding programs, mentorship, health care, clothing, protection, education or scientific research.” Hlebichuk envisions a domestic abuse shelter applying for money to paint rooms in cheerful colors or an after-school program at a library getting healthy snacks.

Image of bingo players

Families play bingo at Burnside Bingo.

While the stereotypical bingo player is older, Burnside Bingo is starting to draw other customers. Hlebichuk said groups of younger people are starting to come in on a regular basis. They use the private room that seats up to 30 people. The friends play bingo, eat, drink $1 beers served by the adjacent casino, watch a sports game on the big-screen TV and can talk because it isn’t as loud as a sports bar, Hlebichuk said. The casino is operated by a different owner.

That private room is available during the day for businesses that need a meeting room. It can be rented out from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 7 to 11 a.m. Friday. The bingo hall’s kitchen can provide food.

To raise awareness of Burnside Bingo’s new mission, Giving Hope is helping raise money this month for Night of Hope & Caring, which provides funding to elementary schools in the Sioux Falls School District. The Sioux Falls Storm led the creation of that effort, said Jim Loria, the football team’s director of corporate sales. The team does a lot of classroom education programs and saw the need to help fund extra activities in schools that might not have a strong PTO presence, Loria said. He works with KSFY-TV as a media partner, and a staff member introduced him to Hlebichuk, knowing that they shared a vision for helping kids.

These family bingo nights will have special prizes and are being sponsored by KSFY-TV on April 18 and the Sioux Falls Storm on April 25. Hlebichuk said he hopes the events will raise more than $6,000.

MORE INFO: To reserve a spot for a family or group, rent space for a meeting or other event, or ask questions about grant applications or setting up a fundraiser, call Hlebichuk at 605-351-2395. There’s also information on Burnside Bingo’s website, burnsidebingo.com, and you can follow its Facebook page for updates on events and promotions.

Image of Burnside Bingo

Burnside Bingo has a new operator.







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Burnside Bingo seeks new image under new charity

A new nonprofit organization in Sioux Falls is working to redefine the image of bingo halls and raise money for organizations that serve children.

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