There was a great deal of relief Wednesday night as people crowded into Oak Grove High School’s first Bingo fundraiser following last week’s armed robbery.
The San Jose school has held Bingo games to raise money for its music program every Wednesday for decades. But after a masked man waving a gun made off with nearly $5,000 there has been much discussion over the games’ future.
“After getting over the shock, we (parents, staff and volunteers) had a meeting and decided to keep holding the games but up the security level,” said Oak Grove Band Director Chris Moura.
And sure enough, community support saved the day Wednesday.
Moura says large and small donations have come in totaling about $15,000.
“The money not only helped salvage some band activities but allowed us to hire an off duty police officer and set up video surveillance cameras at the Bingo games,” Moura said.
Luckity.com, an online bingo game company, will be donating $5,000 to the school Thursday.
“Seeing the students express so much sadness and determination online through social media made us want to reach out and help them” said Luckity Vice President Eric Hartness.
Oak Grove Color Guard director Teresa Moura said she appreciates the donations and the emotional boost they provide.
She mentioned one donor in particular, an Oak Grove graduate and military veteran.
“He said ‘Teresa, this might sound cheesy but memories of this program kept me going when I was in Iraq’ and then he gave me a hundred dollars and said ‘its small’ and I said ‘that is not small, this is huge’ I mean that kind of response is priceless,” she tells KTVU.
Oak Grove officials say they were glad to see the crowd at the Bingo games because they are still the foundation of the band budget.
The much-honored band will leave for a concert in Rome after Christmas and will play in London on New Year’s Day.
The trip was paid for before the robbery but Moura says the donations still helped with other related activities.