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Believe it or not, Thanksgiving Day is almost a week and a local Indian tribe is extending a helping hand to local charities by donating 10,0000 turkeys for this year’s holiday meal.
Over the past 33 years, two and a half million meals have been served with the help of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians who provide the main course for Thanksgiving.
Mary Ann Andreas is a Morongo Tribal Council Member, she said sharing with others has always been a Native American Tradition.
Andreas said, “Among all tribes, giving back is very important, sharing is very important, reciprocity is a basic tenet of Indian tribes.”
About 100 volunteers shared the workload of packing the birds for each charity.
Shana Hunter traveled with her church in Torrance to help.
Hunter said, “In order for our organization to get the turkey we have to volunteer to help so that we can pack up the turkeys in the boxes and ship them all out.. and everyone pitches in, it’s an all in effort.”
The work-zone was set up as an assembly line, with pallets of turkeys going in and out all morning.
The charities on the receiving end come from all over Southern Calfornia, including charities in the Coachella Valley, such as Martha’s Village and Kitchen in Indio, the Galilee Center in Mecca and the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.
Scott Wolf is the Development Manager at the mission, the non-profit organization will take 400 turkeys this holiday. Wolf said, “And also we plan on serving a few meals at the Rescue Mission, to the tune of probably 10,000 meals the week of Thanksgiving.”
Wolf said they also plan on giving away a whole turkey to families in need, after all Thanksgiving is about being selfless.
Several of the volunteers took the day of from work, such as Mario Moncada, who marks 15 years of helping out at this yearly event.
Moncada said, “I took a day off work today, I don’t care if I don’t get paid, I mean we are helping and today that is the big thing we need to help.”
Several of the charity staff members said a free turkey is a big help for their communities, and they hope the spirit of giving carries on.
Wolf said, “We are still in need of food to serve our Thanksgiving meals, so if you want to drop off some non-perishable food items at the mission or a frozen turkey, by all means please do.”
As soon as the 2018 holidays are over, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians will begin accepting application from charities to get a free turkey next year.