The Palomino helps those in need with its annual Christmas fundraiser

A local establishment, The Palomino Smoke House and Social Club, known for its raucous concerts, rowdy evenings, and rustic nature, is also known for something else: its charitable spirit and involvement in the community. The Palomino is home to the Annual Toy Drive for the Women’s Centre of Calgary.

Hosted this year on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, the event is one of many across the city designed to raise funds for those in need. Relying on donations from both bands, in terms of donating their time to perform, and patrons, the event raises “car loads” of toys for those in need.

Started in 2002, the annual toy drive has evolved over its 15 plus year history.

“We started at Bamboo, and The Drum and Monkey, but after we closed those in 2015, we moved it to the Palomino,” said Danny Northfield, co-owner of The Palomino Smoke House and longtime Calgary bar owner.

“It is always nice when a local band is willing to donate their time to an event like this.”

Originally the donations were for the Alberta Children’s Hospital, but Northfield saw that the Women’s Centre was in urgent need for help.

“We dropped off donations one year at the children’s hospital and we saw how much stuff they were getting every year. Then we heard about the Women’s Centre and how they were struggling to fill their toy room.”

According to the Calgary Women’s Centre website, over 3,500 women and children relied on the toy room to provide for their Christmas needs in 2017 alone.

The Women’s Centre serves women and children in need and is meant to provide a safe space for those who need it.

“We see how the toy drive is used to help families and it has always felt like the right fit for us,” said Northfield.

Since then, The Palomino has devoted an evening every year to raising funds and toys for the centre.

“Every year is amazing when the next day you drop off multiple car loads of donations.”

The Palomino is not alone in its toy drive, partnering with UFCW Local 401 and the Rangers Support Club of Calgary.

the palomino

Some of the toys donated by attendees of Palomino’s annual toy drive for the Women’s Centre of Calgary on Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Patrick Concepcion/SAIT)

“They have always been a big help in making the drive successful,” said Northfield.

The Palomino is part of Concorde Group, of which Northfield is vice-president. “I know a lot of other establishments run fundraisers throughout the year and during the holiday season.”

This year’s fundraiser featured local bands Bad Animal, The Torchettes, The Corey Hotline, Lashes, Scratch Buffalo and Poke the Bear. The cost of admission was either one unopened toy or a suggested donation of $15.

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