BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hundreds of kids in Buffalo will have a merry Christmas, thanks to donations from a karaoke night.
“I think it was the perfect way to cap off the year,” said OJ Barker, co-founder of Hip Hop Karaoke Buffalo.
And what a year it’s been for the founders of Hip Hop Karaoke in Buffalo. What started as an event in a small club, is now selling out venues — literally — on Chippewa Street in downtown Buffalo.
“It brings the sort of flavor that the city needs to see because there’s so much talent,” said Busy Chase, the host of HHK Buffalo.
“This year has been good to us so we wanted to give back,” said Barker.
A toy drive may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear hip hop karaoke but in the spirit of giving, organizers offered discounted tickets at $5 if guests brought a toy to donate.
“I mean I knew that people were going to bring toys but I didn’t think everybody was going to bring toys,” said Barker.
“People really went above and beyond. I couldn’t believe what people came through and I think that’s indicative of the heart and culture that we see in this city. People want to go that extra mile and help each other out,” said Donny Arthur, co-founder of Hip Hop Karaoke Buffalo.
Organizers collected 14 bags full of all kinds of toys for less fortunate kids.
“We’re going to be able to bless some kids with toys due to a phone call,” said Pastor Al Wilson, Executive Director of the Martha Mitchell Community Center.
It’s a blessing for Pastor Al Wilson who got the call Monday. For him, Christmas came a day early.
“Actually we had a giveaway yesterday and we served over 300 people and we ran out of toys,” said Pastor Wilson.
You could call these guys Santa’s little helpers at least Wilson might. But for them, that’s the goal to give back to the community that’s given to them — no matter the music or the venue.
“And who would ever think a city bar or a venue will donate to a community center,” said Pastor Wilson.
“We’ve been really trying to change the narrative around hip hop events in the city,” said Arthur.
Organizers say they won’t wait until next Christmas to do something like this again. In the new year people, will have even more chances to give back to the community by coming to these events.