Due to the coronavirus pandemic, outside of online poker, our great game is taking a lengthy nap. But that isn’t stopping the Poker League of Nations, the world’s largest women’s poker organization, from being productive. Instead of their usual task of attracting more women to the game, members are focused on helping those in need during these trying times.
PLON founder Lena Evans shared details of her organization’s charity work with CardsChat. Many workers in Las Vegas have been laid off in recent weeks due to the global health crisis. That’s left thousands in Sin City, including dealers, scrambling to come up with money for rent and food.
Evans’ group is serving a different purpose than its usual mission of advocating for women in poker. Numerous PLON members and ambassadors have donated time, money, and supplies, to help those in need around Las Vegas. And that includes Evans, who donated much needed N95 masks to volunteers and law enforcement personnel, and has been helping feed the homeless.
Tina Napolitano has already gathered up $2,500 in donations from the poker community to help out. Las Vegas’ popular pizza joint, Joe’s New York, donated 10 pizzas, which she along with fellow PLON ambassador Lynn Lozier delivered to homeless residents around Southern Nevada.
“The homeless people count on tourists to help them survive,” she told CardsChat News. “And there aren’t any now. We have fed over 300 people so far, and will continue this effort. This could be your family too”
Helping the Community to Grow Poker
Evans said helping the community will, in turn, grow her PLON community. With live poker on hiatus for a while, PLON has increased its number of online freeroll home games for prizes, which are all donated.
Kitty Clark is another ambassador who is volunteering to help her community. She has been volunteering with the Salvation Army in Las Vegas and Clark County to fill needs. The card player has delivered necessities such as toilet paper and food to those in need.
“There are many ways to help that don’t require patient contact,” she said in reference to helping put up tents at a local hospital.
Jacqueline Britton, a PLON founding ambassador, has donated pieces from her clothing line, AXYIS, as prizes in the PLON freeroll online home games. She has also been cooking and delivering food for doctors and nurses.
“As an Ambassador for PLON, I always want to set a good example for leadership and service,” Britton said. “During this time, I’m donating prizes and spending my free time contributing to the Las Vegas community. I’m grateful for my continued health, and friends and family, and the always generous poker community.”
Dangers of Serving the Public During a Global Health Pandemic
The coronavirus is spreading rapidly throughout the United States. More than 300,000 people in America are confirmed to have contracted the disease, and nearly 3% of those confirmed cases have already died. To put things in perspective, depending on your age and health situation, if you catch the virus, you’ll need to fade a one-outer. And, we’ve all lost to one-outers multiple times.
While society has a need for volunteers to assist those in need, those volunteers are doing so at risk to their own health and safety. PLON’s Florida ambassador Stella Davila understands this as well as anyone. She drives for the Instacart and DoorDash food delivery services.
“It’s really very scary to go out and work serving the public during this pandemic,” she explains. “However, I enjoy what I do and I know that people need groceries. There’s a lot of vulnerable people in my community that can’t leave the house: a lot of them are disabled or elderly and they still need the provisions, so I pray every day for the strength to go out and continue to take care of myself and my family and others, and not be affected or harmed by the virus. All restaurants are closed, and people need to eat, so I have been delivering a lot of DoorDash during all of this”
Many other PLON members have also donated their time to help their communities. That includes, but is not limited to, Emily Olmstead, Lavonne Zwart Schaafsma, Shannon Fiore, and Ting Ho.