From the Heart to host Queen of Hearts game weekly at Luna starting this month

‘I think this could be really beneficial for all of the groups that we give money to’


ROCHELLE — Local charitable organization From the Heart has established a Queen of Hearts drawing that will take place weekly on Thursday evenings at Luna starting June 13.

From the Heart donates equally yearly to nine area nonprofits including the Community Action Network (CAN), the Rochelle Area Community Foundation, Pegasus Special Riders, Hub City Senior Center, HOPE of Ogle County, the Rochelle Christian Food Pantry, Shining Star Children’s Advocacy Center, CASA and Foundation for Focus House.

A Queen of Hearts drawing involves 54 cards hidden under a covering to be revealed one card per week until the Queen of Hearts is drawn. There are 52 playing deck cards with the 2 jokers hidden. Players purchase tickets in increments of six for $5 and write a number corresponding to a hidden card on the board and their information on them before placing them in a tumbling drum. One ticket will be drawn each Thursday night at 7 p.m. and the card with the number on the ticket will be revealed. When the Queen of Hearts is drawn, the winner receives 50 percent of the proceeds from the total, regardless of if they’re present or not. 

The new contest will be affectionately known as “Queen For The Cause,” From the Heart Founder and President Dave Eckhardt said. The game will join From the Heart’s yearly gala and cash calendar sales fundraising efforts.

“I think this could be really beneficial for all of the groups that we give money to,” Eckhardt said. “It could increase or maybe even double their portion of money that they get from us each year. That's a huge thing for them. If we can do more than that $10,000-11,000 that we're able to give them now, that could go a long way in their work. And we just added a new member to the group. It's a major step for us and it's very cool that we can expand because of the extra opportunities we have to make money. With the gala doing so well, it made it easy to make that decision.”

Luna Owner Jim Withers approached From the Heart in recent months about the idea after attending the From the Heart gala in February. 

“It opened my eyes to all that they do for our community’s nonprofits,” Withers said. “I was thinking of ways to help. We have a building and facility at Luna and the ability to do the marketing for something like a Queen of Hearts. The key for me is all of the proceeds go towards helping people in need in the community. I was born and raised here and I want to do anything I can to help people in the area.”

Ticket sales will start at Luna’s grand opening event on Friday, June 7 starting at 4 p.m. The day will start with a ribbon cutting and will be followed by live music, appetizers and drinks.

Tickets will be sold during Luna business hours for cash only. The money collected each week will be added to the following week’s drawing until the Queen of Hearts is found. The tickets in the drum are discarded after every drawing.

After the winner’s 50 percent is taken out, 40 percent of the winning pot will go to From the Heart and 10 percent will be added to the new pot starting the following week. 

If the second Joker is drawn before the Queen of Hearts is drawn, the game will start over the next week with a brand new full board. 

For cards drawn that aren’t the Queen of Hearts, winning some amount of money is still in play. Other queens drawn will pay five percent of the posted eligible amount, if the winner is present. Jokers will pay five percent of the eligible amount, if there’s a present winner. All other drawn cards will pay $500, if present. If the winner is not present, the $500 will be rolled over and added to the following week, creating a new side game until it is won by an in-person winner.

Eckhardt said the Queen of Hearts jackpot will start at $10,000 on June 13. Each week of the contest, one of From the Heart’s nine recipient nonprofits will be featured to raise awareness for their cause. 

With other Queen of Hearts contests in the area drawing large crowds, Eckhardt and Withers said they’re prepared and equipped for that and that is exactly the hope to raise money for area nonprofits. 

“I think this can create people getting together on a regular basis,” Eckhardt said. “I think that's a big thing and a community thing. I think one of the things the From the Heart gala does is bring people together that normally don't get together. This gives someone a chance every Thursday night to come out and be among the community and use all of the new amenities at Luna and maybe win some money. We want people to be here and we want to generate as much funds and traffic as we can. And hopefully we'll have fun in the process.”