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Morongo Provides 400 Local Children with New Shoes, Backpacks and School Supplies

Four hundred local schoolchildren in need received free backpacks stuffed with back-to-school supplies, along with new Nike shoes, socks and hooded sweatshirts at a special event Wednesday funded by the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament.

The schoolchildren, who were identified and selected by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass, ranged in age from kindergarten to seventh grade.

Hundreds of excited children and their parents attended the first daylong distribution on Wednesday at the Banning High School. A second event took place Thursday in Cabazon.

“It’s heartwarming to see the smiles on the faces of all these kids and their parents as they try on their shoes and sort through all the pencils, pens, crayons and school supplies in their new backpacks,” said Morongo Tribal Council member Charles Martin, who served as co-chair for the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament. “None of this would have been possible without the support of the players and sponsors at the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament.”

Two weeks ago, volunteers measured each child’s feet to ensure the new Nike shoes fit properly. 

“At Morongo, we believe education is the key to success. I’m hopeful that the shoes, backpacks and school supplies distributed today will give local children in need a head start toward a successful new school year,” said Morongo Tribal Council member Damon Sandoval, who served as co-chair for the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament.

Amy Herr, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass, said the donation from Morongo and the other event sponsors provides a needed boost for local families.

“Many families are struggling in this tough economy and that sometimes can mean choosing between shoes and school supplies for their children or buying groceries or paying rent,” Herr said. “Thanks to Morongo, the families of 400 children from across the San Gorgonio Pass will get some assistance and their children will start the school year with new Nikes, new clothes and a new backpack of supplies they need to succeed in the classroom.”

Families who received the shoes and backpacks expressed their appreciation.

“This is an answer to our prayers,” said Cheri Delgado, a mother of five from Whitewater, as her children excitedly sorted through their school supplies. “It really gives us peace of mind.”

Christina Gormley of Banning agreed, saying that buying school supplies for her four children can be very expensive.

“This is really a big help,” Gormley said. “They got to pick from four or five different kinds of shoes.”

Wednesday’s event was primarily funded by $30,000 raised at the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon in June.

Morongo and the Boys and Girls Clubs also partnered with Nike and numerous local sponsors for the event, including: Office Depot, Waxie, Mission Linen Supply, D&L Quality Products, Kelly Paper, HALO, OC Technology Solutions, JAMS, Grainger, Fulton, Somma, Brand Builders, Lithopass, Creative Marketing and the Inland Group.

Since its launch 17 years ago, the annual Morongo Charity Golf Tournament has raised more than $1 million for dozens of local and regional non-profit groups that serve local veterans, children, schools and hospitals.

The Morongo Charity Golf Tournament is one of several annual community events conducted by the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. True to its long tradition of giving, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians has contributed more than $5 million to hundreds of local and national non-profit organizations and charities during the last five years.