SANTA MARIA, Calif. - The pressure was on for about 30 "celebrity waiters" Thursday night during the annual "Ladies Get Loud" fundraiser at the Santa Maria Country Club. The volunteer all-male crew, was comprised of prominent members of the community, and included leaders from business, government, education and media.
The popular event, now in its third year, raises money for CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation), a Santa Barbara County-based nonprofit committed to fighting child abuse.
"It's both a treatment and prevention organization. Some of these kids have just unbelievable traumas that CALM deals with, and they have a lot of success," said event co-chair Mike Gibson.
Created in 1971 in Santa Barbara, CALM has spread countywide, using comprehensive, culturally competent services for children, adults and families.
"There are about 5,000 reported cases of child abuse in Santa Barbara County each year and 80% of them are up here (Northern Santa Barbara County), so we're trying to do something about that, raise some money for CALM," said Gibson.
At the Santa Maria Country Club, about 300 women filled the room to take part in the two-hour long fundraiser.
"This is so wonderful to see this level of support and this level of energy on behalf of the work we're doing to support kids and families," said Alana Walczak, Chief Executive Officer.
Last year, Ladies Get Loud raised $19,000. This year, the event exceeded that amount, raising more than $20,000.
"The money will support all of our prevention and intervention services. So we're we are helping treatment services for children who have witnessed violence or have experienced abuse or neglect in their homes," said Walczak.
KCOY 12 Central Coast News was represented at the event, with Scott Hennessee, Tony Cabrera and Dave Alley among the waiters.
"They're competing for Hitching Post gift certificates, so it's a good deal," said Gibson.
The waiter who collected the most tips will recieve a $150 gift certificate, the second most tips $100, and third most $50.
Rudy Hernandez brought in the most tips, collecting $1,764. Robert Gibson was second, with $1,695, while Jean-Luc Garon placed third at $1,158.
For more information on CALM, visit www.calm4kids.org