Waco VFW fighting to keep their doors open

POSTED: Monday, July 14, 2014 - 6:13am
UPDATED: Monday, July 14, 2014 - 9:10pm

A local VFW chapter could face closing its doors for good after months of unsuccessful fundraisers.

Now, the Waco VFW post commander who says he's doing everything he can to make sure his organization stays up and running in the area, after more than 32 years in the community.

"We were the number one VFW. Now we're on the bottom, so now we just got to do the best we can," said Larry Bethea, VFW 8564 Post Commander.

Numerous vacant seats and tables fill the Waco VFW facility. These seats were once occupied by devoted bingo players on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. Bethea says last year there were as many as 150 players each bingo night. Before closing the doors in March, there were as few as 15 players.

"So we was going further in the hole each time that we did bingo," said Bethea.

This VFW chapter would raise as much as $5,000 each month from bingo. those funds would help pay for the VFW's operational costs. It would also cover utilities, rent, and food for veterans in need.

"At this point, we only support about three or four people a month. We were doing like 20 people a month or 30 or whoever needed help we were here to help them," said Bethea.

Now, post 8564 can barely afford keeping their own lights on. They've resorted to a "rainy day" fund to keep them afloat.

"We had a little money saved up, and we just don't operate. We don't do anything with the VFW now," said Bethea.

For now, the chapter is hosting fundraisers here and there to help raise money. They are also renting out their building to generate a little more revenue.

If you would like to make a donation to the Waco VFW, Larry Bethea at (254) 498-5876.


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