Four hundred school children in southern California went back to school with backpacks filled with school supplies, new sneakers and other goodies, thanks to the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and its partners in philanthropy.
Morongo distributed the backpacks stuffed with back-to-school supplies as well as new Nike tennis shoes, socks and hooded sweatshirts at a two-day event in early August. Hundreds of excited children and their parents attended the first daylong distribution at Banning High School, in Banning, California, and on the second day in Cabazon. The give-away was primarily funded with $30,000 raised at the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament and it provided assistance to children and families in need as they prepare for the new school year.
“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.”
The schoolchildren, who were identified and selected by the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass, ranged in grade-level from kindergarten to seventh grade. Two weeks earlier, volunteers measured each child’s feet to ensure the new Nikes 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 were certainly appreciative. “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 expensive. “This is really a big help. They got to pick from four or five different kinds of shoes.”
The $30,000 was 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. Morongo has a long tradition of giving and over the past five years has contributed more than $5 million to hundreds of local and national nonprofit organizations and charities.