Tyler Barnes has been organizing the annual Christmastime Hip Hop’s Toys for Tots fundraising concert for four years and he says each year’s event has been bigger than the last.
“The second year I kind of realized I can take this thing and build it into something that is incorporated into the city of Nanaimo, you know what I mean?” said the local hip-hop artist and president of the non-profit Community Cadence Foundation (CCF).
“I want this to be a city-wide event that’s recognized by the city as a whole and not just the hip-hop community.”
According to a press release CCF has provided presents, groceries and financial aid to about 30 families with nearly 80 children in total since 2014. Barnes said he never expected the fundraiser become such a success.
“I mean, I figured it would be something, but not like this. I never saw myself as being a philanthropist, being president of a non-profit organization,” he said.
In September, CCF became a registered charity. Barnes said this move opens up the possibility for more corporate donations.
“We couldn’t accept cash from companies. So we were getting offers from local businesses that were trying to give us cash and stuff, but we couldn’t write them tax receipts,” he said.
“So we realized that we could be potentially cashing in on quote a bit of money and helping out a lot of people if we had that opportunity so we did all the paperwork and got that all put into place.”
This year’s concert will take place at the Queen’s on Friday, Dec. 15. It will feature local hip-hop artists from Barnes’s Independent Generation recording studio and local concert promotion company Rogue Planet. Vancouver rapper Moka Only, formerly of Swollen Members, is headlining the show.
“My hopes for this year is just to be able to sort of set the ground work for the company itself,” Barnes said.
He said last year’s fundraiser brought in $2,500 before expenses and this December he hopes to double that sum. He said last year so many families signed up that he regretfully had to turn some people away.
He also says he hopes to grow CCF into a year-round fundraising operation, with Hip Hop’s Toys for Tots in the winter and another fundraiser taking place in the summertime. Barnes envisions building a non-profit that never has to turn anyone away again.
To donate to Hip Hop’s Toys for Tots, visit www.communitycadence.org. A CCF press release states that toys can dropped off beneath the Nanaimo Conference Christmas tree every Saturday until Dec. 16 between noon and 4 p.m. Barnes said toys are preferred, but financial donations are welcome.
WHAT’S ON … Hip Hop’s Toys for Tots takes place at the Queen’s on Friday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30, show is 19-plus.