SlotWorld to help Holiday with a Hero | NevadaAppeal.com

SlotWorld to help Holiday with a Hero

Teri Vance
Special to the Appeal

Carson City Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Gonzales, organizer of the annual Holiday with a Hero program, invites the public to a fundraiser Saturday. Slot World Casino will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from its cafe, between 8 a.m.-8 p.m., to Holiday with a Hero. The community event partners military, firefighters, law enforcement and medical personnel with local Students in Transition to help them have a proper Christmas. Photo by Cathleen Allison/Nevada Momentum

Enjoying a meal on Saturday could make Christmas a little brighter for a child in need this year.

On the heels of its grand reopening, SlotWorld Casino is hosting a fundraiser for Holiday with a Hero, which pairs first responders and other community leaders with low-income children for a holiday shopping spree.

"We wanted to support our local heroes and give back to the community," said Joey Whitacre, Slot World's director of casino operations. "In helping out the local heroes, we're also giving back to the kids, which is our main focus with fundraising."

From 8 a.m.-8 p.m., SlotWorld will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from its cafe to Holiday with a Hero. A police car, a fire truck and a Humvee from the Department of Corrections will be parked in front of SlotWorld during the day. First responders will also be on hand for conversations and photo opportunities.

"You can bring your kids down for some breakfast, and at the same time support a great cause," said Meliah Gonzales, a district court bailiff and organizer of Holiday with a Hero. "It's a good way to get the whole family involved with community service. And what little kid doesn't want to be served orange juice by a firefighter?"

In its 14th year, Holiday with a Hero teams up with children enrolled in the Carson City School District's McKinney-Vento Program, which serves children living in motels, campgrounds, cars or doubling up with other families.

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Each child is given a $100 gift card for a shopping spree at Walmart. The organization is hoping to serve about 250 students during the Dec. 20 event.

"The kids look forward to it, and it's somewhat of a relief to parents knowing their children will at least get some kind of Christmas," said Sgt. Daniel Gonzales, who's also a Holiday with a Hero organizer. "If we have a great turnout at Slot World, that's going to put us right where we need to be."

SlotWorld, under the new ownership of Bodine's Casino, opened Nov. 22, boasting full renovations.

"It's been very well received so far," Whitacre said. "You won't even recognize it."

Meliah Gonzales said the fundraiser is part of the organization's mission to cross promote, such as the Holiday Crawl, which raises money for the cause while promoting downtown businesses.

"It's definitely a win-win for us and them," she said.