Bingo battle brews in Bordentown

94-year-old accused of taking the cake
April 9, 2008 8:30:46 PM PDT
An elderly Bordentown woman has been banned from playing bingo with her friends at Burlington County senior centers after a dispute about a cake.94-year-old Helen Allen of Bordentown has been banned from all senior nutrition sites in Burlington County after a dispute about a cake.

Until recently, day-old baked goods used to be used as bingo prizes at the Carslake Community Center.

Back in January, after one bingo game, Helen was accused of stealing a cake someone else had won. She says she got the cake by swapping some muffins she'd won. That same day, Helen got in trouble for sharing food with another senior, and soon after, this local legend, who's been honored many times for her community service, got a letter from the county telling her not to come back.

"I cry at night periodically from the way they've treated me for what I've done all these years to make seniors, including myself, happy. I personally feel it's not right," Helen said.

County spokesman Ralph Schrom says Helen's been banned because of complaints from several people the last few years that her physical, hands-on style is too rough, leaving some bruised. The bingo incident was the icing on the cake.

"We have an obligation to those participants that their safety and wellbeing is also a concern of the county," Ralph Schrom said.

Helen is appealing the ban, but at this point isn't sure she wants to come back to the senior center. However, Helen is sure about one thing:

"I want an apology for taking that cake," Helen said.

Helen's friend Paul wants one, too. He was suspended for a week, he says, for just carrying the cake to Helen's car.

"Because the baked goods have been stopped at our center, half the clientele will not talk to me anymore," Paul Zolna said.

Helen stays home waiting for word on her appeal.