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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


December 27, 2003 - Issue 103


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Tribe Comes Through for 16 Charities


by Emily Sachs San Bernardino Sun


Credits: San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians logo

San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians logoSixteen area charities appealing to the public for help got the Christmas miracle they were hoping for. On Thursday, the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians gave them each $5,000.

The gift of $80,000 was directed to each of the agencies listed in Thursday's edition of The Sun in connection a story about an 11th-hour plea for donations.

"After reading today's heartfelt story in (The Sun) about the needs of local charitable organizations, we felt compelled to lend a helping hand to assist these organizations during the holiday season," said Christine Hernandez, secretary-treasurer of the tribe.

"At this time of year, we feel that it is especially important to do what we can to ensure that everyone can share in the joy of the holiday season."

The agencies included the Children's Fund, which needed 9,000 more toys for abused and neglected children in the county; Catholic Charities, which was looking for 250 turkeys and hams and enough gifts for 70 special-needs teenagers; and Kids Repair Inc. in Victorville, a teen hangout center that was out of money.

Kids Repair founder Lyn Camarena said in Thursday's story that when Christmas is over, so is her agency.

She couldn't believe the call she got Thursday afternoon.

"I said, 'Look sir, don't joke with me.' He said, 'Ma'am, I am dead serious.' I started crying. Then he started crying. We're both on the phone screaming and crying."

The donation gives her center at least a six-month lease on life.

"Easy," she said. "That will pull us until we get a grant."

At San Bernardino-based Arrowhead United Way, which also received $5,000, President Doug Rowand spent the afternoon brainstorming with staff to figure out how to best use the money for Christmas needs.

At least a couple of large families in need will benefit, he said, as well as some smaller charities.

"We've never gotten money like this from San Manuel," Rowand said.

The other agencies were:

  • The Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino.
  • Desert Communities United Way in Victorville.
  • Desert Manna homeless shelter in Barstow.
  • Frazee Community Center in San Bernardino.
  • High Desert Youth Center in Victorville.
  • Home of Neighborly Services in San Bernardino.
  • Morongo Basin United Way.
  • Redlands Family Service Association.
  • The Salvation Army in San Bernardino.
  • The Salvation Army in Victorville.
  • Samaritan's Helping Hand in Victorville.
  • Tender Love-ing Christmas in Yucca Valley.

Representatives of the charities have said that the sluggish economy and recent wildfires have greatly reduced the private and corporate donations they depend on.

"We hope that this donation will greatly assist these organizations," said Hernandez, "and that it will inspire others to support their local charities."

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