The pandemic may have put a damper on indoor dining, but the Tehachapi Area Association of Realtors found a way to breathe $10,000 back into the local economy by playing restaurant bingo.

TAAR held its Taste Tehachapi restaurant bingo during March. Participants visited 10 local family-owned eateries and provided copies of receipts in an effort to support the community.

Those entries were placed in a drawing, which was held April 16.

“We are so thankful for all the participants. This contest was able to generate over $10,000 in business for our local restaurants and we awarded $1,800 in gift cards to our winners,” said TAAR President Stacey Peel.

The grand prize winner was Helen Hemmer, who won $500 in gift cards in varying amounts to seven restaurants. 

"We ended up getting quite a few gift cards from local eateries. We had one restaurant that gave us eight $25 gift cards," Peel said.

Other winners included Jennifer Jones, Jeannette Devlin, Danny Charles, Emily Van Andel, Terry Loyd, Carlene Fichter, Monica Davey, Amanda DeLeon, 1Wold Shadduck, Stefanie Garcia, Mike Pardue, Ruthie Grimes, Laura Burdick, Debbie Simpson, Trish Garcia, Phillis Belcher, Denise Mitchell, Janet Brown and Glenda Ursua.

"The restaurant owners have said that this has generated more local business for them," Peel said.

Peel thanked all the participants, the restaurants that donated gift cards and to their media sponsor, Tehachapi News.

According to Peel, the Taste Tehachapi Bingo was so successful that TAAR is considering a round two to be announced at a future date.