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Morongos donate 10,000 turkeys to community

By Samantha Cortese, News Reporter, samantha.cortese@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Nov 14 2012 03:06:21 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 15 2012 06:00:00 PM CST

TURKEY DAY IS ONE WEEK AWAY.. BUT A THANKSGIVING TURKEY IS A LUXURY MANY AMERICANS CAN'T AFFORD RIGHT NOW.. THAT'S WHY THE MORONGO BAND OF MISSION INDIANS IS HELPING THE LESS FORTUNATE... SAMANTHA CORTESE SHOWS US... THE SPIRIT OF GIVING IS ARRIVING BY THE TRUCKLOADS.

CABAZON, Calif. - -

In these tough economic times, there are many people who can't afford a Thanksgiving dinner.


That's why the Morongo Band of Mission Indians is helping those less fortunate, by donating turkeys.

"We're trying to help families who don't have turkeys so that way they can have a turkey for this Thanksgiving," explained young tribal volunteer Caleb Anderson.

The outreach program began long before Caleb was born. Over the last 27 years, the tribe has given out 70,000 turkeys to the hungry in Southern California.

"Morongo is doing a really fantastic job, but I still think there's a lot more that can be done, there's a lot of homeless people out there," expressed John McCoy.

He would know.  "I used to be one." McCoy admits. "I was a homeless person, yea."

McCoy is now a medical support assistant with Loma Linda Hospital, delivering turkeys to veterans in need. Loma Linda is one of 113 pre-selected organizations feeding families, veterans, and seniors ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, with the help of the outreach.

The tribe will donate 10,000 turkeys -- enough to feed 200,000 people.

"There's so much need in our communities right now, we actually aren't even making a dent," said Holly Valencia, Community Outreach Rep for the tribe.
"We're giving out 10,000 turkeys today, but we had organizations asking upwards of 22,000 turkeys."

Christian Intercessors Pastor Vivian Stancil and her congregation drove from riverside to donate their time, and in return will receive 75 turkeys to give to needy members of the community.

"In these economic times, we reach families that's unemployed, that's on food stamps, seniors that's raising young children," Stancil said.

"It brings joy to my heart because as a result of what we do today, there's going to be a lot of families here in this area that will have food when they wake up on thanksgiving morning," congregation member Melvin Bryant told us.

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians may donate the turkeys, but the turkeys are not donated to them.

"It's over 250 thousand dollars each year," Valencia said.

A cost that, she says, will never be taken out of the budget.

Follow Samantha on Twitter: @SamanthaCortese