They began their annual Thanksgiving Outreach Program for the 36th year in a row.
Their three-day turkey giveaway helps out organizations who provide food for those in need, specifically during the holiday months.
“We’re going to be giving away 15,000 turkeys today. From those 15,000 turkeys 300,000 meals will be made.” says Charles Martin, the Tribal Chairman for Morongo Band of Mission Indians.
Martin says since launching the program, they’ve been able to provide more than 3.5 million holiday meals for those in need.
“We’re just grateful to be able to be in a situation where we can give back to the community that has been there to support us. This is our appreciation for their support.” says Martin.
This year, volunteers are helping distribute turkeys at the Morongo Community Center to 116 non-profit groups, churches, and charities from all over Southern California, including right here in the Coachella Valley.
“Morongo has blessed our organization with 600 turkeys which we are super happy for because we serve 1000 meals a day on a regular basis during the holiday time we’re set, we’re doing 4000 meals in two days. So without the help of Morongo, there was no way we would have been able to do that. So because of them, we can feed more people.” says Desire Tegge, the Development Coordinator with the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.
Tegge says the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission sees about 300 people walk through their doors on a daily basis, and during the holidays they see double that amount. Without the 600 turkeys donated they wouldn’t be able to feed the community.
“We do offer a food box. So if they need a turkey and they want to serve Thanksgiving dinner at home. We will make them a food box and give them a turkey so that they can actually have that again. With the fact that we can provide a Thanksgiving meal to a family is just amazing… and I know it helps our whole community.”
Now this comes during a time where many families struggle for basic needs, such as food and housing.
Local organizations say they see rising numbers of neighbors in need during this time, and are thankful for outreach programs like this one.