A naughty good time: Fire companies turn to adult-themed bingo for fundraising

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West York Fire Company has a new approach to fundraising — holding adult-oriented Naughty Bingo events. York Daily Record

West York Fire Company has a new approach to fundraising — holding adult-oriented Naughty Bingo events.

“Bow-chica-wow-wow!”

Tammi Bull, microphone in hand, was upping the excitement at a recent Naughty Bingo fundraising event — held before the coronavirus forced us all into social distancing.

About 130 attendees, mostly women, packed the West York Reliance Fire Company hall to dab bingo sheets, maybe sip a little wine and hopefully win prizes.

The game is played like regular bingo, with the exception of the prizes — the adult, or “naughty” part — handed out in black bags and made by Pure Romance, a company Bull represents. Proceeds from the event benefit the fire company.

For example, one woman won a re-usable massage pad in the shape of a red heart and a bottle of massage lotion.

And winners can’t call out “Bingo!” but instead have to use a word for another adult toy that begins with “d” and ends with “o.” 

This was West York’s third Naughty Bingo in two years, but the company does not have the market cornered; other fire companies in York County and elsewhere, fire companies, in a constant scramble for funds and volunteers, have held similar events.

“Fire companies are struggling to get volunteers as it is,” said Bull, a petite, 30-something with short-cropped pink, blonde and brown hair. “Turn-out gear (what firefighters wear when fighting fires) is expensive.”

One of the first first Naughty Bingo events in the state occurred about three years ago at the Hometown Volunteer Fire Company in Schuylkill County.

Greg Halpin, retired York City Fire/Rescue Services lower deputy chief, sees Naughty Bingo as a new frontier, as some of the other go-to fundraiser ideas have become worn out.

“As other revenue streams drop, they have to come up with new ideas,” he said. “If it works and gets them funding to keep the fire service running, then more power to them.”

Halpin said that in Pennsylvania, volunteer fire companies provide a vital service to all residents, but unlike other public service entities, most are not funded by local governments, so they are left to fundraiser on their own.

York City’s department is funded by city tax dollars.

“You don’t see the highway department out selling chicken pot pie,” he said.

The bawdy BYOB West York crowd laughed and hollered throughout the night.

‘Relationship enhancement’

West York Fire Chief John Love said he sees Naughty Bingo as just another fundraising effort by the fire company. Its regular bingo events on Saturday nights — in non-coronavirus times — do well, but they discontinued selling subs, as interest waned over the years.

Other departments try subsidizing their expenses with shrimp feeds, basket bingo and gun raffles. 

Last year, Bull — who, along with husband Eric, are members of the company — pitched the idea to Love.

“I was like, you know what, we’ll try it,” he said. “And as you can see, it’s a big turn-out.”

Bull’s first bingo for West York was in March 2019, where her efforts helped raise $1,800. Those dollars were about doubled at the second event, held in September, where between $3,000-4,000 was raised.

Bull says 70 percent of Pure Romance’s items are of the “bath and body” variety; however, to one side of the hall, she has several large cases displaying … toys, shall we say.

But she eschews that term in favor of “relationship enhancement products,” which she sells at weekend parties for women in their homes.

“There’s something for everyone,” she said. “It’s not just about bedroom accessories. We’re trying to gear this company toward sexual health and education.”

Despite Pure Romance’s 27-year existence and Bull’s six-year selling tenure in York County, she said, she still gets, the “Oh, you have those parties,” to which she responds, “What, you don’t shave your legs?”

And what is her response to those who say Naughty Bingo is risque, even pornographic?

“That’s the furthest thing from it,” she said. “Granted, we have the toys, but it’s not because we’re telling women to replace men. America is literally in a sexual recession … Taking care of yourself. Smelling good, living good. It makes us feel good, which also leads into the bedroom.”

Naughty and fun

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The action was fast at the Naughty Bingo, with firefighter Arthur Harman calling out numbers. A woman mistakenly thought she had, which Harman labeled a “false orgasm.”

“It’s a good environment,” Harman said. “It gets people out of their homes and helps out the fire company.”

Allison Weaver, 33, of Columbia, who said it was her first time at such an event, was invited by friend Nicky Swisher, 28, of West York.

“Hey, it’s something interesting, it’s something different, why not?” Weaver said.

Weaver won two items: a firming cream called Body Boost and He-Li miracle oil, said to heal cuts and scrapes.

Kelsey Shuman, 28, of West York, was at the event with friend Jacky Soto, 37, of Dallastown.

Shuman was also a winner, taking home a certain motorized adult toy typically used by women.

“It’s naughty, it’s fun, you can drink, it’s fabulous,” Shuman said. “And I won!”

Martina Kaminsky, 50, of West York, was another who had a “false orgasm,” jumping up and yelling that she had won. 

Kaminsky said she was there “to have fun,” but also saw a deeper meaning in all the naughtiness.

“It’s to better the community,” she said. “It’s a fundraiser for the fire company. Have a good time with friends and family.”

Ted Czech is a multi-platform crime/emergency journalist with The York Daily Record.  He can be reached at tczech@ydr.com, at 717-771-2033 or on Twitter at @TedCzechYDR

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