Tribe donates $750,000 to help local families
Puyallup Tribe of Indians recently pumped $750,000 into the local community with donations to three charitable organizations that will help local families experience a happier holiday season.
As part of its annual charitable contributions outlined by the state’s gaming compact with the tribe, the Puyallups donated $250,000 each to two key area food distributors – Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest – as well as Pierce County’s Toys For Tots program, providing toys to thousands of families in need during the holidays.
On Dec. 9, tribal representatives presented Toys For Tots organizers with a check for $250,000 during the annual KIRO Day toy drive at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in South Tacoma.
They also brought with them a truckload of toys, accounting for $5,000 additional donations to support local families who do not have the means to purchase Christmas gifts for their own children.
Overall, the daylong KIRO Day toy dive throughout the Puget Sound region collected more than $23,000 worth of toys and $258,000 for local children.
“Christmas is just not the same for a child without presents. We had the capacity to provide these toys to children who need it, and it’s really exciting,” said Marguerite Edwards, Puyallup Tribal Council member.
Edwards noted that the total monetary donation to the drive would equate to 50 times more toys for tots.
“That’s 50 more vans full of toys.”
As Washington’s largest hunger relief agency, last year Food Lifeline distributed more than 35 million pounds of food – the equivalent of more than 27 million meals – to feed hungry people throughout Western Washington.
Right now the annual Q13 FOX Food for All Holiday Food & Fund Drive is underway with Food Lifeline and Les Schwab Tire Centers. The goal is to provide 100,000 meals to those in need.
“We are truly grateful for the generosity of the Puyallup Tribe at this time when the number of people at risk of hunger is increasing,” said Pam Pearson, senior vice president and general manager of Q13 FOX. “The Puyallup Tribe’s substantial donation to the Q13 FOX Food For All Holiday Food & Fund Drive will go directly to Food Lifeline and help that amazing organization make significant strides toward its goal of ending hunger in our community.”
To donate $10 instantly to this effort, text “MEALS” to 52000, or donate online at www.foodlifeline.org. You can also drop off non-perishable food at any Les Schwab Tire Center. The Q13 FOX Food for All Holiday Food & Fund Drive will go through Jan. 1.
Northwest Harvest is the only non-profit food bank distributor operating statewide with a network of more than 325 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. It provides more than 1.6 million meals every month to this network. On Dec. 3, Northwest Harvest hosted its largest one-day event of the year: the KING 5 Home Team Harvest. Northwest Harvest volunteers and staff spent the day collecting food and funds at numerous sites throughout the Seattle area.
“We are deeply grateful to the Puyallup Tribe for their generosity and spirit of potlatch giving, at a time when revenue is down and need is up,” said Northwest Harvest Executive Director Shelley Rotondo. “This gift will provide over 1,136,000 meals to those in need across Washington.”
Overall, the drive pulled in enough cash and food to provided 2.5 million meals to families in Washington.
In total, the tribe’s contributions to Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline combined will provide more than 3.5 million meals to individuals and families in Washington.
“A lot of these food banks are down 80 percent in donations. We were sure some families were going to go without,” Edwards said. “Our donation equals 3.7 million meals. That makes big difference.”
Tribal Councilmember Sylvia Miller said the tribe’s contributions in food and toys is just a small way to help countless local families make it into the new year.
“Families have been hit really hard lately… it’s sad to see people struggling so much,” Miller said. “A lot of people are very prideful, and don’t want to have to ask for assistance. It’s a good thing the tribe has the ability to help not only our people, but everyone else in the community. I hope people take advantage of it and step up to the plate and get something for their families if they need it.”
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