The board members of Operation Lotus recently decided to hold an online raffle for prizes previously slated for a bingo fundraising event that was cancelled because of the pandemic.

By Lily Belcher

On Monday, October 5, local charity Operation Lotus will host an online raffle of designer wallets, backpacks and purses in place of the originally scheduled Handbag Bingo, which was set to take place in April.

Handbag Bingo was originally postponed until September with the hopes of an opportunity to host an in-person fundraiser, but the persistent number of coronavirus cases in Florida forced the event at the White Oak Cottage in Lithia to be cancelled. The decision to cancel 2020 Handbag Bingo was made by Operation Lotus’ board and its founder, Melanie Brockmeier-Jordy, in August.

“Sadly, because of COVID, our board met August 23 and decided it would be best for our community to postpone until 2021. Our event space (the White Oak Cottage) has been wonderful to work with and they will hold a date for us for 2021,” said Brockmeier-Jordy.

Participants can win spa gift cards or bags and wallets from designers, such as Kate Spade, Coach and Michael Kors, through the virtual raffle. Those who signed up for April’s bingo competition have the option of receiving a refund if they do not wish to participate in the online event.

“We decided a raffle because so many people bought tickets to the event in the first 24 hours. We sold out after 48 hours,” Brockmeier-Jordy explained. “We appreciated them so very much and wanted to give them the option to still be able to win the handbags.”

Local businesses that helped sponsor the event will help the Operation Lotus team draw names of the raffle winners on-site during the virtual event.

Operation Lotus has hosted several events and made several donations since the coronavirus shutdown, including UV lights for sanitizing given to local schools and a supply drive for students returning to school.

Brockmeier-Jordy has been running Operation Lotus for seven years and recently relaunched the organization to rededicate herself and her new board of directors to serving the community and helping families, the core purpose of the organization.

“Every time I thought I was done, the universe showed me I wasn’t,” said Brockmeier-Jordy. “I was moved to do even more for our community. So, I dedicated myself to a full relaunch. I have an awesome new board of directors and we are motivated to help as many families as possible.”

For more information, visit Operation Lotus’ Facebook page or email operationlotusfl@gmail.com.