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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


December 13, 2003 - Issue 102


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Tulalips give $20,000 to ailing food banks

by Cathy Logg - Everett (Washington) Herald Writer

TULALIP -- The Tulalip Tribes donated $20,000 Tuesday to food banks to help fill holiday baskets.

Tribal board Chairman Herman Williams Jr. presented a check for $10,000 to Gilbert Saparto, president and chief executive officer of Volunteers of America, and Virginia Sprague, director of the agency's food bank program. A separate $10,000 check will be presented today to Marge Williams, pastor of the Church of God on the Tulalip Reservation.

Several Tulalip board members learned that Volunteers of America had only 10 turkeys in the Everett Food Bank's freezer and needed cash or donations of turkeys, chickens and hams.

Holiday food basket distribution begins Monday, so the agency had to order poultry this week.

The Tulalip Food Bank also needed donations.

"The first thing this morning, prior to our budget meeting, we discussed it, and we directed our staff to look into our donation account," Williams said. "It's the time of the season when we as a people have to pull together."

Volunteers of America, through its Snohomish County Food Bank Coalition, serves 19 food banks across the county.

"This will certainly help us address the holiday needs, as well to help us purchase staple items for the rest of the month," Sprague said.

The Everett Food Bank serves the largest portion of families in need in the county, she said. And the needs are particularly high this year.

"Some of our families, particularly the ones with children, have a loved one over in Iraq," Sprague said. "It's been a challenge all year for our families. It's going to be a slim holiday."

The food banks wanted to ensure that families at least had a good holiday meal, with turkey and trimmings, she said.

"The Tulalip folks always are very timely in their gifts to the community," Saparto said. "They're there when we need it the most.

"This tells the spirit of the community. It builds strong relationships. It's not the first time the Tulalip Tribes have helped Volunteers of America get through the holidays."

The tribal board decided the money was needed immediately, board treasurer Mel Sheldon Jr. said. "There's a great need out there," he said.

The Tulalip Food Bank had an unexpectedly high demand at Thanksgiving and couldn't meet all the needs, he said.

"We had donated (to the food bank) based on last year. What a difference a year and the economy makes. I think everybody got caught by surprise this year. But realizing the need, we're stepping up to the plate."

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