Morongo Band of Mission Indians Distribute 10,000 Free Turkeys

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians distributed 10,000 free turkeys Monday to charities and churches who will use the donated birds to provide 220,000 Thanksgiving meals to families, seniors and veterans across Southern California, a tribal spokesman said.

Groups and shelters to benefit this year include New Creation Church of Beaumont, Banning and Yucca Valley, which received 500 turkeys, HELP Inc. in Banning, 250 turkeys, Martha's Village in Indio, 200 turkeys, the Inland AIDS Project in Riverside, 200 turkeys, Temecula People Helping People, 200 turkeys, and the Los Angeles Mission, 300 turkeys.

"Words cannot express our appreciation to Morongo and their spirit of givingduring the Thanksgiving," said Darla Burkett, executive director of the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, which received 400 turkeys from the tribe Monday.

Other groups receiving turkeys are based in Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs, and San Bernardino, Morongo spokesman Mike Fisher said.

Tribal members and volunteers helped load turkeys on trucks Nov. 18 at Morongo Community Center, for distribution to more than 90 non-profit organizations and social programs across the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County.

Including Monday's donations, the annual Morongo turkey give-away has provided more than 80,000 turkeys to help feed those in need, Fisher said. Plate-by-plate, tribal officials estimate turkey donations from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians have helped provide more than one million holiday meals to the less fortunate.

"Morongo's Thanksgiving Outreach program has helped the community for 28 years and we are excited to know that as of this year, our tribe has helped feed more than one million people in need," Morongo Tribal Councilman Tom Linton said. "One million holiday meals is quite a milestone but we have no intention of slowing down. At Morongo, giving is a part of who we are and that will never change."

Banning-Beaumont Patch
By: Guy McCarthy
November 18, 2013