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‘Game Changer’ project aims to raise funds for the United Way

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NITRO, WV (WOWK) – A few cents here and a few cents there can add up to something big.

That’s why Mardi Gras Casino and Resort is teaming up with the United Way of Central West Virginia to turn spare change into a donation for people in need. They’ll be asking people to drop un-redeemed slot vouchers into a donation bin. That money will then be donated to the United Way.

Mardi Gras Casino and Resort launches new program to benefit United Way.

“Sometimes you cash out of a machine and you have 87-cents. Well what are you going to do with 87-cents? You could put it in the bin and donate it to the United Way and it is going to make a difference,” explained Brian Knost, Marketing Manager for Mardi Gras Casino and Resort.

They are calling the project “Game Changer”.

“Believe it or not they’ll throw them in the trash or leave them on the machines or whatever,” Knost said. The slot vouchers dropped in the bin can be for as little or as much as people want to give.

The extra dollars come at a time when they are needed the most.

“September was the largest volume month for utility assistance we’ve seen ever, since even before the pandemic, and so we certainly know the increase in need is here,” said Margaret O’Neal, with the United Way of Central West Virginia.

O’Neal said calls to the 211 hotline have increased by 400% since March when the pandemic started. The United Way plans to use the funds to help with their 31 different programs. The money will be used for things like the shoe fund and housing and utility assistance.

“We talk a lot about pennies make nickels and nickels make dimes so being able to put this money together to help our community it is always important,” O’Neal said. “But in the midst of COVID it is more important.”

A similar program in the Arkansas has already raised more than $16,000 for charity since launching in September.

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