ABILENE, Texas - Everybody knows the monopoly board game.
Players roll the dice hoping to buy and sell property and collect money. On Monday, the The United Way of Abilene brought the historic game to life at their campaign report annual luncheon held at the Abilene Civic Center.
A representative from First Financial Bank came out dressed as Mr. Monopoly and started the game. His entry to the music, "For the Love of Money," was just the beginning of shock and awe. Mr. Monopoly, as he's called in the game chose cards and gave instructions. With each one money was awarded and not monopoly money, but real cash.
$5,000 was given to 20 different participating organizations and the monetary gifts were a welcome surprise.
"Christmas has come early, right now," Big Brothers Big Sisters Regional Executive Director Tim Yandell said. "It's Christmas come early for Big Brothers Big Sisters."
"To walk into a luncheon and get a $5000 check for an organization whose budget is only $500,000, it's just mind blowing," Hope Haven Executive Director Alana Jeter said.
All of the agencies receiving money operate on donations. For them and the people they serve, this unexpected bonus means a lot.
"We'll be able to pay for plumbing and repairs we had to last week without worrying," Jeter said. "...to have our next payroll come without having to worry about which we're going to have to pay first."
"When a child has a mentor in their life, they are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol," Yandell said. "For women who have a big sister in their life are less likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy."
This is the first time United Way of Abilene has given the extra money. The new CEO Dr. Cathy Ashby expects it won't be the last time.
This year Big Brothers Big Sisters has helped 800 youth. Hope Haven has 14 families living in their shelter.
The organization began as a community chest that church leaders in Denver, Colorado created in 1887. It came to Abilene in 1956 as the United Fund and the name changed to the United Way in 1972.