Casino donates to KOA toy drive

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Matt Bergman of KOA; Susie Rodriguez of KOA; Hoshi Henry, marketing manager of Cahuilla Casino; Brittany Thorpe of Cahuilla Casino; Russell Kitchen of KOA and Daniel Salgado, chairman of Cahuilla Tribal Council, participate in the casino toy donation Friday, Dec. 20. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo

After weeks of collecting new toys for the Kids of Anza toy drive, the day finally arrived to disperse them to local children Friday, Dec. 20.

The Cahuilla Casino collected new toys through a special promotion and donated them to the Kids of Anza organization.

Russell Kitchen, Susie Rodriguez and Matt Bergman of Kids of Anza accepted the gifts with Cahuilla Casino representatives Hoshi Henry, Brittany Thorpe and Daniel Salgado.

The KOA organizers arrived at the Little Red School House in Anza to prepare the goodies for the giveaway slated for later that afternoon.

Beginning at 2 p.m., local children and their families came to the School House to pick up huge bags of toys and other gifts.

“Thank you Anza Civic Improvement League and Charles Cadwell for allowing this event to be held at the park. Special thanks also to Matt Bergman, Heather Bourgeois, the Cahuilla Casino reps Hoshi, Daniel and John, NAPA, True Value Hardware store and the Bank of Hemet. Plus Wicker Well, Superior Container, the Soil Kitchen, Anza Lions, Christy James, Bentley Hunt and of course, Susie and Neil and the whole community for the support for our children,” organizer Russell Kitchen said.

Tammi Ferris and Stuart Jewell donated the majority of the teen gifts.

Children opened boxes and bags to find their presents and began playing with the balls and other toys.

“We want to thank Cahuilla Casino and their employees for the toy drive held on behalf of the KOA that they had from Nov. 15 through Dec. 20, along with the businesses in town that allowed us to place donation boxes,” Susie Rodriguez of KOA said. “We truly enjoy the events we have and look forward to starting a new year for the KOA. Merry Christmas, Anza.”

To learn more about the Kids of Anza, visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KOA-kids-of-Anza-1871218979808102.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.