- Principal John Curtis broke into an ear-to-ear grin as the refrigerated
truck pulled into the parking lot of Cabazon Elementary School
was just a couple of months ago the Morongo Band of Mission Indians
donated more than $50,000 in much-needed playground equipment to
his school. While Friday's delivery was quite different, Curtis
and the family members standing in small groups nearby were just
the largest giveaway of its kind since starting the tradition in
the 1980s, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians delivered more than
3,000 turkeys to 37 charities and other organizations throughout
Riverside County this week. The donations are expected to provide
holiday meals for nearly 15,000 people.
member George Cook said the donation is just another way of giving
something back to the community. He and his wife helped hand out
wanted to reach out to people who have a need at this time of the
year. I'd personally like to see more of this from the tribe,"
wife, Valerie, said she most enjoyed seeing the tribal members,
people from the community and Morongo employees come together to
make this year's program successful.
Mayhood arrived early with her 4-year-old daughter, Hayli, and was
one of 200 people to get a turkey. Mayhood, whose 7-year-old daughter
Elexus, attends the school, described the donation as a generous
gesture by the tribe. Principal Curtis added that the tribe is always
there to help his school and students anyway it can.
turkey donations follows a $1 million gift from Morongo to the Riverside
Chapter of the American Red Cross two weeks ago. The tribe contributed
more than 6,000 early Thanksgiving meals for local families displaced
by the recent Southern California fires.
Council member Anne Hutton and other tribal members also delivered
more than 140 boxes of Thanksgiving dinner ingredients to the families
of the Torres-Martinez tribe.
a prepared statement, tribal leaders said the giveaway was their
way of continuing a tradition that started 380 years ago when Wampanoag
Indians of Massachusetts helped the Pilgrims survive their harsh
first winter and, harvest time, brought food for a thanksgiving
are honoring the spirit of that original Thanksgiving with this
donation," Hutton said. "The Morongo Indians know and
understand what difficult times are all about.
many of the families we are trying to help, our struggles are far
from over. But this holiday is a good place to start building new