Virtual Drag Queen Bingo Fundraiser
360 Youth Services hosted a bingo fundraiser on Friday night with a twist – with Drag Queen Muffy Fishbasket leading the game. The Virtual Drag Queen Bingo “Fun-Raiser” is a way to celebrate pride, but also raise money for the organization’s transitional housing program for LGBTQ youth.
“To highlight the work that we do to support the LGBTQ community, particularly young folks experiencing homelessness and people who access our group home and mental health counseling, and all of our other programs that we try to make as affirming as possible,” said executive director of housing at 360 Youth Services, Carolyn Wahlskog.
This is the first time 360 hosts a Drag Queen Bingo fundraiser. Usually, they have authors come in to speak, but couldn’t do that this year with the COVID-19 pandemic. And it wasn’t an option to wait until next year for another opportunity to raise funds.
“In October we lost federal funding that specifically paid for the LGBTQ transitional housing program,” said Wahlskog. “So anything we raise tonight helps close the gap because right now we’re self-funding the program.”
The program houses over 50 youth, half of which identify within the LGBTQ community.
The night was filled with fun, banter, and of course counting off numbers as Muffy Fishbasket kept the over 60 participants, both young and older, entertained. This is the first time she works with 360 Youth Services.
“Growing up this would have been such an amazing thing to have accessible to myself,” said Fishbasket. “So I’m really excited to now be involved in raising money so that somebody growing up as I did has it accessible.”
Between games, there were two speakers – 360 Youth Services CEO Judie Caribeaux and Gus who is a graduate of the housing program.
Winners received Downtown Naperville gift cards and one lucky winner also got a prize from Fishbasket herself.
360 Youth Services said they might be hosting more bingo games, and they reached their $10,000 goal by the end of the night.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
Photo Credit: 360 Youth Services
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