Nearly $11,400 donated to Holiday with a Hero from SlotWorld event |

Nearly $11,400 donated to Holiday with a Hero from SlotWorld event

Carson City Fire Paramedic Matt Cooper, right, takes breakfast orders, from left, John Pedrini, Jim and PJ White and Raffi Attashian at Betsy’s Big Kitchen in the Slot World Casino on Saturday Dec. 9, 2017. Slot World is donating 100% of the proceeds from the cafe during Saturday's event to the Holiday with a Hero program which provides a proper Christmas to nearly 300 local underprivileged students. Photo by Rick Gunn/Nevada Momentum
Rick Gunn | Nevada Momentum

One hundred more children will have a merrier Christmas, thanks to a donation from SlotWorld.

The Carson City casino donated a total of almost $10,000 to Holiday with a Hero, an event that pairs a local hero with an underprivileged child to go shopping for Christmas.

“This donation took us to where we needed to be to finalize our funds,” said Holiday with a Hero organizer Meliah Gonzales. “It is our largest donation we have ever received.”

The money originally was meant to come from proceeds from SlotWorld’s Betsy’s Big Kitchen restaurant. Personnel from the Carson City Fire Department, Nevada Department of Corrections, Juvenile Services and local military members helped serve more than 700 plates from open to close Saturday to help raise donations. However, at the end of the day, the owners of SlotWorld just decided to give the event $10,000, and in addition to SlotWorld’s donation, the organizers had a cash donation bin at the restaurant that raised an additional $1,386 for the event.

“I feel so grateful, I am full of gratitude to SlotWorld, to the people who came out to help serve and those who came out and ate,” Meliah said. “Without their support, we wouldn’t have been able to do this.”

“My 9-year-old son came out to have breakfast with his grandma and he said ‘man mom, they are so gracious,’ and that is how I felt too.”

The Holiday with a Hero event, which takes place Wednesday, needs more than $30,000 to be able to donate gift cards, lunches and more to underprivileged students in the McKinney-Vento Students in Transition program. This year, the community was eager to help.

“It all goes to this being a community effort to put this on,” said co-organizer Daniel Gonzales. “It is people stepping up, whether it is a local business or even just a citizen who sends in $5, it takes all hands on deck to pull this off.”

This will be the 14th year the event has taken place in Carson City. Every year, more than 200 kindergarten through 8th grade students each receive a $100 gift certificate to Walmart and the opportunity to make connections with local law enforcement, firefighters and city officials.

“Without the wonderful people in our community, we wouldn’t have been able to keep this going for 14 years,” Meliah said. “For 14 years, we have been able to serve the children in our community because people are so generous.”

For the Holiday with a Hero organizers, every cent the community donated to their cause was well appreciated.

“We at Holiday with a Hero wanted to sincerely thank every donation that has come in, because even if it was only $5, it is all going to the cause,” Meliah said. “And all of the donations matter to us and to the kids so no matter if it was $2 or $10,000 it helped us reach our goal.”