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Bernard Lee gives holiday packages to more than 50 children

23 December 2011

BOSTON, Massachusetts -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- New England’s top professional poker player Bernard Lee today donated holiday packages worth about $200 each to 51 children in Hartford, Conn. and Springfield, Mass. as part of The Full House Charity Program, which provides a minimum of $20,000 annually to organizations across New England that focus on children. Vermont’s renowned Cabot Cheese is the lead sponsor.

“There is no better time to give than during this time of year, when many children in struggling families will go without holiday gifts. I hope our packages bring joy to these families,” said Lee, who shared today’s experience with his two young children. “I’ve been so fortunate in the world of poker it’s only natural that I give back to the community.”

The charity program chose Hartford, Conn. and Springfield, Mass. because both cities were devastated earlier this year by both Hurricane Irene and the unseasonable October snowstorm.

Lee and his children today first visited Connecticut, where they dropped off packages for three families with nine children at The Village for Families & Children Inc. in Hartford. They then visited ProHealth Physicians of Unionville, where they met with seven families with 13 children, handed out the packages and hosted a lunch.

"My patients and I are grateful for the holiday packages we received from Bernard Lee and his charity program. These donations will help our families enjoy their holidays with good food and numerous gifts for their children,” said Pro Health’s Dr. Lakshmi Babu.

“Thank you, Bernard Lee, for supporting the Village, and the children and families that we serve in the Hartford area,” said Robert M. Smith, the village’s vice president of philanthropy. “This is a special time of the year, made more special by the generous gifts made by volunteers like you.”
The day ended with an event in Springfield, Mass., where 11 families with 29 children referred by Open Pantry Community Services received their packages and enjoyed a meal with Lee and his family.

"We are so appreciative of the generosity of Mr. Bernard Lee. Because of his support, 11 families in the Springfield area will have presents for Christmas. We could not have done this without him,” said Open Pantry Director Allison Maynard.

Each family received three gift certificates: Big Y grocery store, Chili’s restaurant and a Cheddar Sampler pack from Cabot Cheese. Each child received a holiday package that included a book, toy, ball/game, winter clothing, art supplies and a stuffed animal. Lee honored specific requests from families.

Launched in February, Lee’s charity program designated $500 to children-focused organizations for every full house, a notable hand of cards, he is dealt while playing in poker tournaments both in the United States and overseas. Lee would have had to amass 40 full houses to reach his $20,000 goal. Though he fell short, Lee has agreed to honor his fundraising commitment.

The program’s sponsor, Cabot Cheese, has been in continuous operation in Vermont since 1919, and is known as makers of “The World’s Best Cheddar.”

The $20,000 program commitment includes these holiday packages and more than $10,000 raised earlier this year for two additional charities: Playing It Forward, Inc. in Framingham, Mass., which provides new and used sports equipment to underserved children around the world, and a local Massachusetts chapter of Autism Speaks.

Lee catapulted into the poker spotlight after he finished 13th in the 2005 WSOP and became the top New England finisher. Lee has become a media personality since becoming professional and playing on the tournament circuit, during which time he has won almost $2 million and three titles.

He is host of The Bernard Lee Poker Show on radio in Massachusetts on 1120 AM (Boston), 970 AM (Worcester), 1390 AM (Cape Cod) and simulcast on RoundersRadio.com, www.roundersradio.com, the largest online poker talk radio station in the world.

Lee is also a poker columnist for the Boston Herald, ESPN.com, Card Player magazine and other media outlets. He is also the co-host of ESPN.com poker show, ESPN Inside Deal. Lee has also released two books, The Final Table, Volume I and Volume II, which are compilations of his Sunday Herald poker columns. He is also a poker commentator for the WSOP and Eastern Poker Tour.

To learn more about Lee, visit www.bernardleepoker.com.

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