Cause Celeb: Stars, drag queens and bingo

By Colin Newton

Kirsten Vangsness from Criminal Minds and drag queens playing bingo to support child literacy? We must be in Hollywood.

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Kirsten Vangsness

Only here could one find an institution like “Legendary Bingo” — “Los Angeles’ longest running and most successful weekly celebrity/drag queen charity event” (one wonders how fierce the competition was); and obviously, only in Hollywood would next week’s charity be Reading to Kids.

Reading to Kids’ mission is based on a 1985 study that said the single most important activity for eventual success in reading is to read out loud to children, said Charlie Orchard, managing director of Reading to Kids.

So the organization partnered with seven elementary schools in Downtown LA to bring live reading to underserved children. Once a month, volunteers read aloud to children, make arts and crafts projects that relate to the readings, and present the kids with books to take home.

“Reading aloud to children imparts a love of books,” Orchard said.

Vangsness, a friend of a longtime reader, is the first celebrity ball caller to sign up for the event ahead of time. But well known personalities have been known to drop in unannounced. Two years ago, Richard Simmons led everybody in a brief dance workout.

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