Rivers Casino employees spent the morning of Oct. 17 at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Club volunteering as part of their larger “Rivers Gives Day of Service 2023.”

Rivers Casino volunteered at the ACS Hope Club on Oct. 17. Photo taken by Cassandra Abel.

Honoring their communities, five Rivers Casino locations and parent company Rush Street Gaming participate in volunteer efforts as a way to enhance the quality of life for its communities, health and human services, workforce development and economic opportunity and supporting U.S. military and veterans. 

Through Rivers Gives, each Rivers Casino annually contributes approximately 2,000 volunteer hours per property to local nonprofit partners. In addition to volunteerism, Rivers Gives consists of board service, donation drives, in-kind contributions and corporate giving.

“Rivers Casino is committed to the health, well-being and economic vitality of the communities in which we operate and to those who have served our country,” said Tim Drehkoff, CEO of Rivers Casino and Rush Street Gaming in a statement. “By concentrating our efforts around these key areas, we expect to heighten our impact while continuing other community engagement initiatives throughout the year.”

The Schenectady location partnered with the American Cancer Society to show their continued support according to General Manager Joe Lodise.  

“The company is founded on giving back to the communities we are based in and it’s very integral to what we do,” Lodise said. “I just joined 6 months ago and that’s what I loved about the organization is that they give back.” 

There were over 30 volunteers for the Rivers Gives Day of Service at the Hope Club. Individuals broke up into groups to take on different volunteer tasks within the club from gardening, baking or painting rocks of hope for the garden. 

The ACS Hope Club is a volunteer led organization which stands as a support community for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer. Joni Ritcher, the only staffed employee at the Hope Club said the club provides families with support, education, healing programs and resources. 

“We do support groups for the whole family, from kids to even after life,” she said. “We do wigs and head coverings, reiki, yoga, social gatherings like knitting and even lunches every Thursday.” 

During the height of the pandemic, the Hope Club was running their programs virtually and offering services remote. Now, they offer a hybrid model. 

Although every group at the Hope Club is run by volunteers, Ritcher helps make sure everything aligns with the program’s mission and vision. 

“I absolutely love the volunteers here,” she said. “Not only are they doing a service for them but they also get to hear our story and know the meaning behind each room, what it’s like to be a member here, and I hope to leave them with something their heart remembers so if they ever here ‘you have Cancer’ they can refer them to the Hope Club.” 

Lodise added that while it is currently Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Rivers Casino is donating a percentage of its sales throughout the casino, hotel and in-business fundraising will be donated to the ACS in celebration of Pinktober. 

Casino guests also can get in on the giving, thanks to a Rivers Gives collection box that will be prominently featured on the gaming floor. Rivers will pass along any chips, uncashed slot vouchers or currency contributed to the ACS. All the funds raised during Rivers Gives Day, and throughout the month, will be presented to the ACS in early November.

To learn more about the Hope Club or to become a volunteer, visit their website