Charles Dickens would give a big thumbs-up to Iowa casinos and their patrons for their generosity this past holiday season. Thanks to their donations, children, veterans, and an Iowa food bank can hopefully start the new year poised for better times.
The three Iowa casinos overseeing the holiday-time charitable giving were:
- WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan
- Rhythm City in Davenport
- Diamond Jo Worth in Northwood
WinnaVegas Casino spreads cheer to four recipients
WinnaVegas Casino Resort divided a total of $20,500 among four local beneficiaries, presenting each with a check in December. Before that, the casino’s patrons participated in fundraising by dropping slot tickets into donation boxes scattered around the property.
Guests who wanted to chip in could also donate change at ticket redemption machines. And they could donate via guitar auctions held during some of the season’s concerts.
WinnaVegas has a history of charitable giving. This time, through the generosity of its patrons, the casino operation handed over a check each to:
- Winnebago Qalicb, Inc. ($7,322.55) was founded in 2013 for nonprofit educational purposes. It does so through its partnerships with the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska Head Start and Early Head Start. As well as the Winnebago Public schools. Children participating include some from low-income families.
- Winnebago Reformed Church ($9,020.61) is associated with the mainline Reformed Protestant denomination in Canada and the United States. Founded in 1628, it’s the North American branch of the Dutch Reformed Church.
- Crittenton Center ($2,100) began as a maternity home for unwed mothers. Today it’s a 501c3 family-oriented nonprofit that offers support leading to self-sufficiency for the Siouxland Community. Crittenton reopened its Emergency Youth Center in 2021.
- ATLAS (Attaining Truth Love and Self-Control, $2,100) advocates for people in the community who are in need. ATLAS assists in registration programs including SNAP, Medicaid, and Social Security, and more.
General Manager Michael Michaud spoke on behalf of WinnaVegas, saying: “We are pleased to help out our local charities during this special time of the year when help is needed the most.
We applaud our guests at WinnaVegas Casino Resort for their generosity for the past few months, and we look forward to supporting those in need.”
Rhythm City Casino drums up $38,160 for veterans
On the heels of a comparable donation to Birdies for Charity this summer, Rhythm City Casino Resort raised $38,160 for the Quad Cities Veteran Outreach Center during the holiday season.
To do so, Rhythm City coordinated with the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort and Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort. Casino guests received free slot play in exchange for contributing to the Veteran Outreach Center.
The golf resort properties raised monies for their communities, as well.
Dan Kehl, the CEO of all three properties’ parent company, Elite Casino Resorts, gave the casinos’ patrons their due praise when he said:
“Elite Casino Resorts is committed to our core values, including supporting and showing respect to all our veterans. Our Quad Cities guests were fantastic! They rallied to generously support veterans in the Quad Cities.
The Giving Back Program puts our company values into action and benefits a great cause.”
Located in Davenport, like Rhythm City, the Veterans Outreach Center has no affiliation with the Veterans Association. And the organization receives no state or federal funds.
Instead, it relies on the goodwill of volunteers and donors. They offer these support services and programs to area vets and their families free of charge:
- Food Pantry
- Free Days Monthly to Assist Veterans
- Job Placement Assistance
- Housing Assistance
- Veterans Benefits Assistance Counseling
- Informational Help to Veterans
- Monthly / Yearly Events
Diamond Jo Worth shines with a $25,000 food bank donation
Beating Santa to the punch, on Dec. 21 Diamond Jo Worth announced its $25,000 donation to the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank. The Mason City food bank opened in the autumn of 1981 as a community project.
These days, it feeds over 2,000 families monthly; that’s almost double the amount of food they gave out before the pandemic.
Carol Clayton of the food bank’s Board of Directors expressed appreciation for the casino and its owner, Boyd Gaming. “We are thankful for Diamond Jo Casino’s generosity as we work to feed more people than ever before.
With this generous donation, Boyd Gaming will provide 156,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank, which will cover approximately two to three weeks of food for our organization.”
Diamond Jo and Hawkeye Harvest have paired up to feed Iowans before. Back in 2012, Diamond Jo contributed significantly to the food bank’s “Food Fun and Frank” project. That sculpture project’s goal was to raise awareness of the need to donate to food banks.
These days, the importance of food banks like Hawkeye Harvest is growing in many places, including Iowa. In the spring, an Iowa Stops Hunger initiative found that 37% of Iowa households could be food insecure. And food insecurity exists in every county in Iowa.
“Mankind was my business.
The common welfare was my business;
charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business .”
— Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”