Christmas is a time for giving, caring and love, and that's why Chautauqua Music and Shawbucks Press Room have teamed up to host a live music holiday benefit to raise funds for local charities.
"Christmas For Kids," which will feature six bands, a Chinese auction and activities for children, is set for Sunday from 1-7 p.m. at Shawbucks.
According to Audrey Ralston, co-organizer, the concept began when she watched a friend count out change to buy a can of soup for dinner.
Audrey Ralston and Billy Kates are pictured outside Chautauqua Music. Chautauqua Music and Shawbucks Press Room have teamed up to host a fundraiser called “Christmas For Kids.”
P-J photo by Dusten Rader
"It really bothered me," Ralston said. "People shouldn't be going hungry, especially during this time of the year."
What started out as a benefit for St. Susan Center quickly grew into a desire to also help local children in need, and thus Toys For Tots was added as a benefactor.
"Looking around my house I can't even think of anything to buy my kids for Christmas - because they don't need anything," Ralston said. "But, there are needy kids out there. So, it's time to help the less fortunate."
Live music for the event will include: Thee Audience, Big Leg Emma Trio, We Speak Canadian, Alex Kates, Haley Restivo and Gina Vecchio with Barry Edwards.
"The Big Leg Emma Trio got involved because of Charity Nuse, who is also helping organize the event," Ralston said. "We Speak Canadian are a local band that have a nice draw because they play cover music that kids love and can dance to. Alex Kates is Billy Kates' brother, who is owner of Chautauqua Music. Charity is responsible for contacting Haley Restivo of Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, who was all about it. Gina Vecchio helps so many people with her shows - she's all about giving back. Thee Audience is one of my favorite local bands, and I wasn't going to stop until they said they were going to play - I love that band. They don't play out that often, so having Thee Audience play will hopefully also have a big draw."
While adults enjoy the live music, children will be entertained by an appearance of Santa, played by Billy Kates, owner of Chautauqua Music, treats, refreshments, crafts and card making for deployed service men and women.
"It's Christmas, and a lot of these service men and women have no communication with home - so we'd like to show them that they aren't forgotten," Ralston said.
More than just a family friendly entertainment event, "Christmas For Kids" is ultimately a benefit for St. Susan Center and Toys For Tots. Instead of an entry fee, attendees are to bring a donation of an unwrapped toy or a non-perishable food item. Monetary donations will also be accepted.
For those who cannot make it to the event, but still wish to offer support, drop boxes are located at Shawbucks, Chautauqua Music, Jones 212 Bakery, Cibo, Viaduct Vintage and Yesterday's. Donations such as non-perishable food, military care package items, winter clothes and unwrapped toys will be collected.
Shawbucks will also donate 10 percent of all food and drink from the event to Family Service of The Chautauqua Region.
"It's great that Shawbucks can be used as a place of public assembly that can benefit the community," said Kurt Johnson, owner of Shawbucks. "And, it's amazing how local bands really step up to the plate to volunteer when something special comes along."
Shawbucks Press Room is located at 212 W. Second St. in Jamestown. For more information, call 484-0179 or search for "Chautauqua Music's Christmas For Kids" on Facebook.