Once again Tyler Barnes is harnessing the power of hip hop to give those in need reason to celebrate this holiday season.
Since 2014, the Nanaimo rapper, who goes by the stage name Jinx TK, has been organizing the Hip Hop’s Toys for Tots fundraiser and toy drive through his Community Cadence Foundation. The group’s website notes that around 60 low-income families and more than 120 children have benefited from the program to date.
“Last year the amount of applications we had come in matched the three years prior to that … and we catered to all those people fine,” Barnes said. “But I have a feeling this year’s going to be a little bit bigger as well.”
Toy donations are already being accepted at That 50’s Barber Shop and The Edge Barber Shop and this year Barnes set up a Gofundme page with a $4,000 goal.
Hip Hop’s Toys for Tots culminates with an all-ages concert at Cavallotti Lodge on Nov. 23 followed by a 19-plus after party at Koncept nightclub. The show will feature winners of an MC competition hosted by Nanaimo rapper Sirreal, breakdancers and local rapper Konfidential with Vancouver beatboxer and MC Emotionz headlining the event.
This was the Community Cadence Foundation’s first year as a registered society. Barnes said that status “opened up more doors for us.”
This past year the group provided haircuts and sandwiches to those at Discontent City and Barnes said there are plans to add more fundraising events throughout the year.
“We’re trying to organize a summer festival as well, which will kind of be a Toys for Tots, but more geared toward the summertime,” he said. “We’re thinking maybe a ‘back to school’ sort of thing and help support with backpacks and school supplies.”
Barnes said he would like to see Hip Hop’s Toys for Tots become a staple institution that Nanaimo is known for. He said word is already reaching other communities.
“Last year I had people reaching out from other towns asking me if I could come to their town and do the same thing,” he said. “And obviously we’re not that big yet but that would be awesome to see it grow.”
WHAT’S ON … Hip Hop’s Toys for Tots 2018 all-ages show takes place at Cavallotti Lodge, 2060 East Wellington Rd. on Friday, Nov. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. 19-plus after party at Koncept nightclub to follow. Tickets $20 in advance here. Donations can be made at That 50’s Barber Shop, 16A Victoria Cres., The Edge Barber Shop, 2220 Bowen Rd., or online here.