The Chumash Casino Resort’s 10th annual Toys for Tots benefit concert on Saturday raised $25,000 for the Central Coast Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots campaign, which serves children in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
This year’s Toys for Tots benefit concert featured the Jamie O’Neal and Friends Acoustic Christmas show led by the Australian-born country music star and up-and-coming artists, such as Rachele Lynae and Cali Rodi, in the 1,400-seat Samala Showroom.
Buellton’s Chelesa Chaput, who won the Rising Star singing competition at the Chumash Casino Resort in September, opened the show with the national anthem and her own performance.
“Toys for Tots gives children in our community the opportunity to enjoy the holidays,” said Vincent Armenta, tribal chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “It’s an organization that provides a positive impact on our children, and we are happy to support its mission through our annual benefit concert.”
Captain Shawn Conner of Marine Corps Reserve Unit 2/23 Company and Commandant Dan Cadena of Marine Corps League 1340 Central Coast were in attendance to accept the donation on Saturday.
“On behalf of the Toys for Tots Foundation, I want to say that we are fortunate to have the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians give its continued support for the annual campaign,” said 1st Sgt. Soledad Kennedy (Res — IRR), a spokeswoman for the organization. “The longtime partnership with the Chumash tribe and the Marine Corps Reserve Program has made it possible throughout the years to help over 5,000 families who might not otherwise have had a Christmas.”
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $18 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation as part of the tribe’s long-standing tradition of giving. Click here to find out more about the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation and its giving programs.
— Mike Traphagen is a public relations specialist for the Chumash Casino Resort.