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Morongo Grants Holiday Wishes for 3,000 Children

Tribe gives $100,000 for annual Christmas Cheer All Year shopping spree to benefit hundreds of disadvantaged children from across Inland Southern California.

Laughter and excitement filled the air as more than 3,000 disadvantaged children from across Inland Southern California took part in the annual Christmas Cheer All YearShopping Spree sponsored by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians on Monday, Dec. 17.

5-year-old Daniel Del Rio of Banning displays a book he purchased at the Morongo-sponsored Christmas Cheer All Year Shopping Spree

Throughout the morning, smiling children emerged from the Target Store in Rancho Cucamonga, CA happily clutching superhero action figures, dolls, stuffed animals, Lego sets, soccer balls, books, board games and other toys that they picked themselves during the three-hour shopping spree.

“The Morongo Band of Mission Indians is excited to be partnering once again with Christmas Cheer All Year to brighten the holidays for thousands of childrenin need,” said Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin. “For some of these children, this will be the only present they receive this holiday. We really enjoy helping put smiles on all these happy young faces.”

Morongo served as title sponsor for the annual shopping spree for a ninth year, donating $100,000 to the nonprofit Christmas Cheer All Year organization. Children from across the Inland Empire, including more than 600 youth from Banning, Beaumont and Cabazon benefited from the program.

Yetta Riddle, 9, of Banning hunts for a toy at the Morongo-sponsored Christmas Cheer All Year Shopping Spree

“It means a lot,” Joshua Dominguez, 9, of Beaumont said of being able to take part in the shopping spree. “I am really happy that they do this for us.”

Nearby, a beaming 7-year-old Savannah Buzoff of Cabazon sat cross-legged in a shopping cart as she eyed the brightly packaged L.O.L. Surprise dolls she was buying. “I Just love LOL dolls,” she proclaimed, her arms stretched skyward. “You can dress them up different ways and play with them.”

13-year-old Emiley Walker (left) and Rheanna Lara, 10, both of Banning,  take part in the annual Christmas Cheer All Year Shopping Spree sponsored by Morongo

Her mother, Shannon Linton, said the shopping spree would help her daughter enjoy the holidays. “It’s amazing. She has really been looking forward to getting this toy for Christmas, and now she can.” 

Since 2010, Morongo has donated $850,000 to the annual shopping sprees organized by Rick Lozano, founder of Christmas Cheer All Year and a longtime Fox 11 News journalist.

“Every year, we can count on the generosity of the Morongo tribe to help bring joy to children and families in need during the holidays,” said Lozano, who credits Morongo with raising over $1 million for the non-profit group through direct donations and support of an annual golf tournament fundraiser.  

As in past years, dozens of children in protective care with the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services were involved in the shopping spree.

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians contributes more than $1 million annually to support communities and nonprofits across Southern California.

 
Captions
Photo 3: Children present a $100,000 check from Morongo to support the Christmas Cheer All Year Shopping Spree.
Photo 2: 5-year-old Daniel Del Rio of Banning displays a book he purchased at the Morongo-sponsored Christmas Cheer All Year Shopping Spree.
Photo 4: Yetta Riddle, 9, of Banning hunts for a toy at the Morongo-sponsored Christmas Cheer All Year Shopping Spree.
Photo 5:  13-year-old Emiley Walker (left) and Rheanna Lara, 10, both of Banning,  take part in the annual Christmas Cheer All Year Shopping Spree sponsored by Morongo.