STONY BROOK, NY — In the time of the coronavirus outbreak, a family of four from Stony Brook has given Americans something to look forward to on a daily basis. Friday night will mark the 50th straight live social distancing-themed Bingo game hosted by the Mastrianos. The free games will continue every night until the social distancing orders are lifted.
The game is open to the public and has a steady following of repeat players, with new families joining in every night, Laura Mastriano, the wife and mother, said. Each night, the game begins at 7:30 p.m. EST on Facebook Live and runs about an hour. The sessions are hosted on Laura’s Facebook page, which can be accessed here.
Laura, an event-planner, told Patch she lost her business due to the coronavirus. Out of work, she decided to pour her time into something fun.
“Instead of worrying about what happened, I chose (and still choose) to stay positive, knowing and hoping that one day we will all be able to celebrate together again,” she said in an email. “I thought hosting a BINGO game would be a fun way to keep our family and friends connected, plus an opportunity for anyone to jump in and play for a free, fun distraction. The games are also a great creative outlet for me, as I am making new decorations every day for the day’s theme with recycled props and supplies I can find in the house.”
Friday’s theme will be hockey — the family’s favorite sport. Before the game, the family supplies a word list and a blank Bingo sheet. Print the sheet, choose 24 words from the list and write them on the card. The Mastrianos pick the words live, share facts related to the night’s theme and crack jokes.
Players can be any age, and the game has spread across the country. Participants are encouraged to dress up to match the theme, too. Traditional Bingo and full-sheet are both played.
Ever since the game launched March 20, there’s been a new theme every night. Past themes include Disney, America, Sports Night, Super Heroes, Movie Night, Video Games, Harry Potter, Football, Nurses Day, Ice Cream, Cinco De Mayo and Alice in Wonderland.
Here are some quick facts on the Mastriano family, courtesy of Laura: