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Hundreds of Local Students Given New Shoes, Backpacks and School Supplies by Morongo

Annual giveaway helps kids and their families get a head start on the upcoming school year.

(BANNING, Calif. July 31, 2019) – With the new school year fast approaching, 600 students in need from across the San Gorgonio Pass received new brand-name athletic shoes and new backpacks stuffed with classroom supplies, thanks to a $50,000 donation from the annual Morongo Charity Golf Tournament.

“We’re delighted at Morongo to be helping hundreds of local students and families again this year,” said Morongo’s Tribal Vice Chairman James Siva, who served as the golf tournament’s co-chairman. “The smiles on the kid’s faces today said it all, and we’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who made this year’s event possible by supporting the annual Morongo Charity Golf Tournament.”

Kids and parents with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass met on Tuesday morning at the Club’s Ramsey Street center in Banning to pick up their free brand-name backpacks filled with notebooks, scissors, pencils, pens, erasers, highlighters and other supplies assembled by Morongo, as well as free t-shirts. Hundreds of middle and high school students also received toiletry items such as shampoo, hair conditioner, body wash, deodorant and lotion. 

“Giving back to the community has always been a part of who we are at Morongo, and that will never change,” said Tribal Council Member Brian Lugo, also a co-chairman of the golf tournament. “We are excited to be helping local students by providing them with the tools to succeed in the classroom.”

Many of the students happily sported their new athletic shoes, which they picked up for free a few days earlier as part of the Morongo program.

Seven-year-old Helen Chavira and her 10-year-old brother, Adrian, sported new tie-dye colored backpacks as they described being excited for the new school year to start. “This is very helpful for us, especially when school starts as we don’t always have money for new shoes or school supplies, said their mother, Blanca Chavira of Whitewater. “I’m grateful that (Morongo) is helping the kids.”

Amy Herr, chief executive officer of The Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass, said the annual program by Morongo is an important lifeline for many families in need.

“This is always my favorite time of the year when our members get their new backpacks and shoes. For some of them, it’s the first time in their lives that they have had new shoes,” Herr said. “Every year, Morongo steps up to help local students start the school year on the right foot and we truly appreciate the tribe’s continued generosity.”

Parent Anabel Pulido of Banning also expressed appreciation, saying that buying school supplies, backpacks and shoes for her five children adds up quickly, and gets expensive. She especially liked that parents were asked to wait outside when the students selected their backpacks and shoe styles on their own.

Held in June at the beautiful Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon, the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament raised $50,000 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass and another $50,000 for The Unforgettables Foundation, which offers care to Inland families following the death of a child, as well as financial assistance to help pay for a dignified and respectful burial.

Since debuting in 1997, the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament has provided nearly $1.5 million to programs serving veterans, children, schools and hospitals. The tournament is one of several annual events sponsored by the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, which donate more than $1 million annually to local and regional nonprofit organizations.

Photo Captions:

  • Photo 2: Adrian Montes, 10, of Whitewater decides which free backpack to select at Tuesday’s annual Morongo Shoe/Backpack Giveaway at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass.
  • Photo 3: Morongo Tribal Council Member Anne Robinson (left) congratulates Helen Chavira, 7,  and her 10-year-old brother, Adrian Montes, of Whitewater at the annual Morongo Shoe/Backpack Giveaway at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass.
  • Photo 4: Michael Haro, 8,  of Banning reaches for his new backpack at Tuesday’s annual Morongo Shoe/Backpack Giveaway at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass..