Kenneth Kahn


I’ve always been a strong believer in the old adage that we can accomplish more together than we can as individuals. It’s a concept that gets reinforced on the field of play when you’re a child in team sports, and it proves valuable later in life when attempting to become successful in business, or helping to make your community a better place.

As our tribe has achieved success with the growth of our Chumash Casino Resort, we’ve had the opportunity to come together with local nonprofits and form community partnerships that tap into our resources to fill a need or support a great cause.

One community partnership that has flourished in the past year has been an arrangement with Veggie Rescue, a nonprofit devoted to improving the nutrition and quality of life for community members who are struggling with food insecurity.

We were approached by Veggie Rescue in 2017 with its idea — supported by the Community Environmental Council — to begin rescuing prepared food from large-scale restaurant operations, such as the Chumash Casino Resort’s buffet, for use in the community.

Our Facilities Department saw this as an opportunity to incorporate yet another innovative way to inch toward our goal for our resort to become a zero-waste property. It took coordination with our Food and Beverage Department, and helpful instructions from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department on the best practices for transporting prepared food, but our Chumash team members found a way to make it happen.

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Veggie Rescue began picking up extra prepared food from our buffet line and transporting it in insulated containers to the Buellton Senior Center three times per week.

The results of our first full year of collaborating with Veggie Rescue are in, and they’re staggering. Throughout 2018, the Chumash Casino Resort donated more than four tons — 8,478 pounds — of prepared food from our buffet to the Buellton Senior Center and its Meals on Wheels program.

That’s four tons of food that has been diverted from local landfills, properly handled and delivered to those in need of a nourishing meal. We’re told the Buellton Senior Center has found creative ways to make soups from the vegetables we’ve prepared, and the donation has bolstered the offerings featured in their Meals on Wheels program.

Veggie Rescue, under the guidance of Executive Director Amy Derryberry, is an example of a nonprofit that identified a need in the community and found creative ways to provide a solution, all while helping the environment in the process.

We’re proud to be a part of Veggie Rescue’s mission. It’s partnerships like these that show us how much we can accomplish when we work together for the greater good.

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Kenneth Kahn is tribal chairman for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.