Courtesy Morongo Band of Mission Indians
The Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians have raised and donated $5 million hundreds of local and regional nonprofit organizations over the past five years.

Back to School: Morongo Band Outfits 800 Low-Income Kids With Shoes, Stuffed Backpacks


Thanks to the Morongo Tribe and a golf tournament, 800 low-income children are fully kitted out with new shoes, plus backpacks of school supplies to jump-start their semester in the fall.

“Morongo wants every child to start the new school year ready to learn, grow and succeed in the classroom,” said Morongo Tribal Council Member Damon Sandoval in an August 6 statement announcing the annual donation. “It's wonderful to see the excitement in the kids’ faces and to know that the tournament has helped relieve some of the financial stresses facing local families.”

The program has been under way for 19 years, funded by the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament, which this year raised $60,000 in June. Sandoval served as the golf tournament chairman this year. Held over three days earlier this month, the tournament benefited students from kindergarten through seventh-grade from Banning, Beaumont, Cabazon and Yucaipa.

Accompanied by their parents, the students excitedly picked up their bonanzas at the Boys & Girls Clubhouse in Banning on August 5: brand-name athletic shoes, hooded sweatshirts, and backpacks stuffed with pencils, pens, crayons and other supplies, the tribe said.

“It says a lot about how Morongo helps the community and working families,” said Devin Delgado of Beaumont, a parent, to tribal officials. “We have seven children, and our family appreciates everything they have done to support the community.”

Delgado’s 8-year-old daughter, Naomi, and her friend Celis Ellison of Cabazon were over the moon as they sifted through two pink backpacks stuffed with school supplies, the Morongo said.

“I love my backpack,” Naomi said, beaming, as her 11-year-old brother, Isaiah, proudly showed off his new blue tennis shoes.

Jackie Brownlee of Cabazon said her son was very excited to take part in the giveaway, which will help the family’s finances.

“Every penny right now helps,” Brownlee told the Morongo.

The program is an important lifeline for many families in need, said the chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Gorgonio Pass, Amy Herr, in the Morongo statement.

"Starting the school year with new shoes, clothes and supplies is a tremendous boost for local children and a huge relief for families that are struggling financially,” Herr said. "Year in and year out, Morongo helps make sure local kids and families start the school year right, and we truly appreciate Morongo's assistance."

This was not the only philanthropic initiative by the Morongo Charity Golf Tournament. Since its 1997 debut, the tournament has given out more than $1 million to programs serving local veterans, children, schools and hospitals, the tribe’s statement said. Several other annual community events sponsored by the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians have brought in more than $5 million in donations to hundreds of local and regional nonprofit organizations over the past five years, the tribe said.

RELATED: 4 Students Awarded College Scholarships from the Morongo Band

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