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PHOTOS: CASA’s Crab Fest returns to raise a record $32k for foster youth

For the first time since 2021, Pioneer Territory Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, was able to host its much-loved Crab Fest, with the COVID-19 pandemic putting the fundraiser on hold in both 2021 and 2022, and the result could not have been better.

Taking place Saturday, Feb. 18 at the NyE Communities Coalition Activities Center, Crab Fest was an absolute triumph, with a very pleased CASA Executive Director Kathie McKenna remarking, “Crab Fest was fabulous this year! We had 216 attendees, with ticket sales bringing in about $19,000. The auctions brought in an additional $13,000 for a total of over $32,000 raised!”

This smashes the record for Crab Fest as a whole, which was set in 2020 at $28,000.

Just because the 2023 Crab Fest was such a tremendous success does not mean it was not a challenge, however. In fact, the nonprofit was faced with a big problem when readying for the large-scale meal, as its previous crab supplier had gone out of business.

“Our last distributor closed down due to COVID-19,” McKenna explained. “He was an older gentleman and he just threw in the towel.”

Not about to let this put a stop to the event, McKenna and her husband Lee took action, flying to San Francisco to obtain a truck which they drove to Petaluma to pick up over 800 pounds of crab. The couple then made the return journey to Pahrump the night before the event, with McKenna remarking, “Needless to say, it was a long weekend.”

All the effort paid off, though, as the 2023 Crab Fest proved that the community is just as supportive of CASA’s mission today as it always has been.

“We could not do this without our community support, which is so greatly appreciated,” McKenna stated. “I also could not do it without our wonderful board members as well.”

The CASA Board of Directors includes current president Brian Kunzi, president-elect Rebecca Oscarson, secretary Susan Davila, treasurer Gretchen Loken and members Janet Erret, Laura Haywood, Pam Tyler and Elaina Smith. Honorary board members include Tim Hafen, James Oscarson and Judge Margaret Whitaker.

“And over half of our ticket sales were actually from our table sponsors, which were 775.FYI, Robin Holseth, Meadows Bank, Desert View Hospital, Pahrump Legal Services, Valley Electric Association, Gunny’s A/C and Heating, Pahrump Community Health Center, Joe’s Sanitation/Pahrump Valley Disposal, the Nye County Prickly Pears and KNYE 95.1 FM,” McKenna added. “A big thank you to them all!”

Of course, now that the fun of fundraising is at an end, CASA is turning its attention to putting that money to good use. CASA’s mission is, “To support and promote volunteer, court-appointed, guardians who are advocates for children in rural Nevada, so that every abused or neglected child in our area can be safe, have a permanent home and have the opportunity to thrive.”

To do this, CASA recruits volunteers who are willing to give just a little of their time and a lot of their love to children in the foster care system.

“We currently serve 75 children. Presently, there are 39 children in foster care in our community that have no voice representing them in court,” the CASA program reads. “While lawyers on both sides submit piles of documentation and briefs to the court, these children get no say in their future. Sound heartbreaking? Please consider becoming a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate. On average, it only takes about three to four hours per month of your time! And Pioneer Territory CASA provides you with all of the training and ongoing support and guidance you will need.”

The next CASA training session will take place in March, with the start date to be determined. McKenna said there are already a couple of people signed up but the nonprofit could really use a few more. Registration for the spring 2023 training can be done online at www.PTCASANV.org. Anyone with questions or who needs assistance in registering can contact Julie Schmidt at julie@PTCASANV.org or by calling the CASA office at 775-505-2272.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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