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Sumter senior citizens united for community-wide bingo

Almost 100 senior citizens from across the county came to the event at South Hope Center on Wednesday for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. — Almost 100 senior citizens in Sumter County got together for community-wide bingo, hosted by Sumter Senior Services and Sumter County Parks and Recreation at the South Hope Center.

Julia Evans came to Wednesday's event.

"It was just a grand day," she told me. "We got to see a lot of people from the other centers, and we were just reminiscing with them. And we played bingo, even though I didn’t win nothing."

Others like Alice Gonzalez and her husband had a little better luck.

"He won a watch, and I won $10 to Walmart," Gonzalez shared. "Events like this, we get to meet the other centers so we all get together and we all know each other."

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This event is the first time seniors from around the county have gotten together since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Gail Wilson with Sumter Senior Services.

"Especially coming off the pandemic, being home, isolated, and now they get to meet people their own age to fellowship and just to have fun," Wilson explained. "So it’s very important to keep them going, keep them energized, and looking forward to something."

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Not only does it give senior residents something to be excited about, but Brenda Wisdom Riley tells me it also helps them stay alert.

"We’re all older now, and the older you are the more stimulation you need. So we are being stimulated and all is well," Riley said. "It was so good to get together with a variety of centers. We’ve not been together for a long time, so we’re able to meet and greet our old friends and talk about the ones we’re missing."

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That’s what Kaynnera Capers with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office likes to see. He checks in on senior residents in the community.

"Some of them are real lonely being by themselves and they need that social interaction, so having them come out and I get to see their smiling faces, you know, know that everything is okay," Capers said.

Wilson says these community-wide bingo events will be hosted on a quarterly basis.

"This is the first of many to come," Wilson shared.

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