Turkeys Take Flight: Morongo Band of Mission Indians Launches Largest Thanksgiving Turkey Donation in CA 6,000 — Birds Bring 30,000 Meals for Families in Need throughout the Inland Empire

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Turkeys Take Flight: Morongo Band of Mission Indians Launches Largest Thanksgiving Turkey Donation in CA 6,000 — Birds Bring 30,000 Meals for Families in Need throughout the Inland Empire

November 14, 2005

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians today launched a weeklong donation of 6,000 turkeys that approximately 40 non-profit organizations will be distributing to families in need throughout the Inland Empire.

“The Morongo tribe has been delivering Thanksgiving food from our family to families in need throughout California for nearly 20 years,” said Joletta Tsosie, Morongo Outreach Committee chairperson and a Morongo tribal council member. “We started out by helping a few families and now it has grown to serve thousands.”

The gifts will provide more than 30,000 hot meals this Thanksgiving. The tribe expanded the annual donation event this year from three days to five days, the longest Thanksgiving project in its history.

The non-profit organizations that will be distributing the birds in individual communities include the Riverside City Mission, the Second Harvest Food Bank, Salvation Army, Carol’s Kitchen, the Los Angeles Mission and numerous American Legion and VFW posts, churches and local elementary schools. The Morongo tribe’s gift is the largest turkey donation in California and one of the largest in the nation.

“The Morongo tribe is delighted to be partnering with so many charitable and community service organizations,” said Tsosie. “We are grateful for their help in making this program such a success.”

The weeklong turkey outreach kicks off on Monday, November 14th with more than 100 tribal volunteers and staff packaging turkeys for distribution at the Morongo Community Center. Deliveries Monday will include the Second Harvest Food Bank in Riverside, St. Vincent’s Catholic Church in Sun City, and the Salvation Army in Riverside.

Outreach continues with deliveries on Tuesday, November 15th to children at the Mecca School in Coachella, Cabazon Elementary School in Cabazon, the Torres Martinez tribe in Thermal, and the Los Angeles Mission in downtown Los Angeles.

On Wednesday, November 16th, deliveries will take place at Central Elementary School and Hoffer Elementary School in Banning,

On Thursday and Friday, organizations including the GI Forum for Vets in Need, Inland AIDS Project, New Praise Chapel, Riverside County Fire Dept., Morongo Faith Chapel/Red Barn and Joseph’s Storehouse will be picking up hundreds of turkeys at the Morongo Community Center starting at 10:00 a.m. each day through noon.

“The Morongo tribe has always had a tradition of sharing in good times and in bad,” said Tsosie. “Indian people know what difficult times are like. We remember when people shared with us and this is our way of thanking our friends, neighbors and our community.”

The Thanksgiving outreach is part of a year-round program of giving by the Morongo tribe which supports community organizations, charities and other non-profits serving the Inland Empire and beyond. Morongo gives more than $2 million annually to a diverse network of non-profit organizations.

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