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Cahuilla Casino donates to ‘Kids of Anza’ toy drive


Last updated 1/15/2018 at Noon

From left to right, Kids of Anza Secretary Susie Rodriguez, KOA Vice President Matthew Bergman, Cahuilla Casino Marketing Manager Hoshi Henry, KOA President Russell Kitchen, Cahuilla Casino Assistant General Manager Daniel Salgado and Slots Director Edgar Tibayan at the Cahuilla Casino toy drive donation event on Wednesday, Dec. 20. Diane Sieker photo

linklinklink The Cahuilla Casino’s the marketing department and winner’s club ran a two week promotional “Toys for Kids” toy drive that resulted in many new, unwrapped toys, which were donated to the Kids of Anza organization’s “Season of Giving” for children in the local surrounding communities. The Kids of Anza representatives received the donation Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the casino.

link “Cahuilla Casino is proud to be able to give back to our community. We are happy to assist the Kids of Anza in their mission of bringing Christmas joy to the children and families this holiday season. Thank you to our loyal patrons and casino employees for their efforts in making this event happen. We had a great outcome,” casino Administration Manager Daniel Salgado said.

linklink The Kids of Anza is a newly founded nonprofit organization that hosts many family and child-friendly events for the local community throughout the year. On hand to accept the toy drive gifts were the board members of the Kida of Anza, including President Russell Kitchen, Vice President Matt Bergman and Secretary Susie Rodriguez.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you to Cahuilla Casino, Daniel Salgado, for making a difference in the lives of our children this holiday season,” Kitchen said. “The support Cahuilla Casino has shown is greatly appreciated.”

link Kids of Anza dispersed the toys and gifts donated from the Cahuilla Casino and the many local donors at a casual event Thursday, Dec. 21, at the Community Hall in Anza. Recipients were notified that their bags of goodies were ready. During the previous weeks, Kitchen and other members collected the names, genders, ages and wishes of deserving children in the community and filled the orders with much flair and precision.

Parents, guardians and family members were pleased with the outcome, sharing their appreciation of the event. Hundreds of gifts were handed out that day.

“A huge thank you goes out to Russell Kitchen of KOA. Not only did he get gifts for my kids but even dropped them off this afternoon while I was gone,” Heather Marie Wilson said. “I am so blessed, and my kids will be so excited when they get back to Anza. Between working all the time and leaving at two o’clock in the morning to go pick up my kids this morning to bring them back to spend time with family, I didn’t have time to meet with Russell to pick up the toys, and he went out of his way to make sure they were dropped off where I could get them today again thank you so much it means the world to us.”

Along with the toy giveaway, Kitchen bought a load of live Christmas trees that he handed out to families in need.

“Thank you so much for our perfect little tree, it’s beautiful. And thank you for Zak’s warm blanket, it is perfect for his wheelchair,” tree recipient Teri Morelli said. “That was a great surprise, Russell. Merry Christmas.”

The enormous pile of toys collected by the Cahuilla Casino’s marketing department and winner’s club are presented to the Kids of Anza at the Cahuilla Casino toy drive donation event Wednesday, Dec. 20. Diane Sieker photo

Caring for her severely disabled son, Zakry, made shopping difficult for her, Morelli said.

Kitchen replied to all the praise simply.

link“I’m not looking for recognition,” he said. “I’m just trying to help those who need a hand. Our community should come together and do things for each other instead of disrespecting or talking negatively about other people. We have all had struggles, and little things like this only make the lives of our children that much better.”

link “Thank you Russell Kitchen,” Chandra Noble Sjostrand said. “All of the kids in our family love the gifts you brought to town. You’re a real live Santa, minus the beard and belly.”


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