5th Annual Royals Masquerade Ball raises money and resources to assist homeless veterans, seniors and families in East County

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The stated intentions are simple but impressive: throw a festive party that invites each attendee to dress and feel like royalty in order to provide measures that will help local homeless persons overcome their homelessness.

The fundraising event was the 5th Annual Royals Masquerade Ball on the evening of Sunday, September 16th.

The Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego was the site, with its open-air central brick courtyard lighted by strands of lights that invited partygoers to mingle at stand-up cocktail tables and sample small-portion desserts.

The stated intentions are simple but impressive: throw a festive party that invites each attendee to dress and feel like royalty in order to provide measures that will help local homeless persons overcome their homelessness.

The fundraising event was the 5th Annual Royals Masquerade Ball on the evening of Sunday, September 16th.

The Horton Grand Hotel in downtown San Diego was the site, with its open-air central brick courtyard lighted by strands of lights that invited partygoers to mingle at stand-up cocktail tables and sample small-portion desserts.

Ticket sale proceeds were slated for outreach efforts to specifically benefit local homeless veterans, seniors and families.

Jessica Kalasho, CEO of the Middle Eastern Chamber of Commerce of East County, hosted the event with her husband, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho. Jessica Kalasho said that 200 partygoers were expected to attend throughout the night. She said her hope was to bring in as much money from the event as last year’s fundraiser, roughly $3,000.

The gala had requirements. Attendees were advised to wear formal attire, including a mask. Each party guest was also required to bring a gift card in the amount of at least $10 for a homeless person to use at a restaurant or clothing store.

“Friends and family members send us gift cards too,” Jessica Kalasho said. “During the week or two after the event, our volunteers take the cards to homeless people in El Cajon and downtown San Diego, too. Meeting them in person to give out the gift cards, getting to know their stories, we can help them get their lives back in order. The homeless families are heartbreaking.”

Ben Kalasho added that the outreach discovers veterans in need.

“We bring along a military veteran we know, who helps us find other needy homeless veterans,” he said. “We will probably be sticking mostly to El Cajon this year.”

Rebecca Kason said she was at this event for the first time, and that she learned about it through a family connection at a birthday party the day before.

“I’m here to support my son’s girlfriend, Kayla, who will be a fashion model on the runway later tonight,” she said.

Jordan Jacobo attended for a second year.

“The organizers invited me,” Jacobo said. “I brought along a Subway card. That should go a long way in sandwiches for a homeless person.”

Featured entertainment included a stunning performance by contortionist Scarlet Checkers, who added sword swallowing into her performances this year. The fashion show concluded the evening’s planned schedule.

Participation is an essential part of the fundraiser, which masquerades itself as a dazzling party.

“This would not be possible without everyone’s contribution,” Jessica Kalasho said. “This is nice that everybody wants to be a part of this.”

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