Rincon Holiday Contributions

Rincon Band Celebrates Season with Holiday Contributions

The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians topped off an annual year-long program of contributions to non-profits by lighting up the season at Escondido’s Botanical Gardens, and with holiday gifts to seniors, teenagers, children in danger, and special families.

“We always set aside a percentage of our philanthropic budget to gift people at Christmas. We do it because everyone on the committee and tribe enjoys giving, especially during the holidays where it seems to be so much more personal. But, also, because we know this time of year there are so many deserving organizations, seeking the extra funds to bring holiday joy, compassion and hope to others,” said Tishmall Turner, chairwoman of the Rincon Contributions Committee.

The tribe gifted the North San Diego County Forensic Health Services at Palomar Health, which screens foster children and sexual assault victims with $20,000, the Friends of San Pasqual Academy with $10,000 for foster teens, $1,000 to Casa de Amparo for endangered children, and $5,000 to The Angels Depot for holiday meals for seniors. The Rincon Band also underwrote the San Diego Botanical Garden Light Festival as a $5,000 Gold Sponsor and gave $5,000 to the Elizabeth Hospice.

Chris Cantore and Steven Woods, morning DJ’S on FM 94/9, also gave away a $600 gift certificate to one special family a day for three weeks, in the “Spirit of the Holiday” event under-written by the Rincon Tribal Council.“Before we opened Harrah’s Resort SoCal, the holidays were often sad times, reminders of poverty, and going without for many people on the reservation. Charities and individuals often helped us, and now we can return that kindness, and make the season a little brighter for others,” said Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti. According to Mazzetti, the tribal council participates in funding a number of giving programs; the largest is the Rincon Contributions Committee, which is comprised of tribal members who recommend recipients for approval by the Council.

“The Committee is very involved in their giving, members meet with the beneficiaries, get to know them, and also attend events and fundraisers we underwrite. We are interested in participating in the well-being of our neighbors at a personal level, and we know that both directly and indirectly our own community benefits,”

The Rincon Tribal Council and Contributions Committee donate to more than 100 charities annually. Combined with the generosity of their business enterprise, Harrah’s Resort, the number of charities supported in 2015 is more than 200. Beneficiaries range from hospice care to little league, and community events such as Valley Center’s Western Days, to activities for military families.

“We wanted to support something happy, like the San Diego Botanical Gardens Light Festival and we also wanted to help others who may be forgotten or overlooked over the holidays. Teenagers living apart from families in foster placement, seniors barely surviving below the poverty line, and families that are struggling financially during the holidays due to special circumstances, last but not least, the most vulnerable among us – abused children,” added Turner.

Forensic Health Services have been provided by Palomar Health District for 32 years. The only center of its kind in North San Diego County, the nationally accredited medical and legal team provides specialized services to more than 900 individuals per year. The team assesses the health and wellness of every foster child removed from their home, conducts forensic interviews and exams for sexual assault victims. The team provides the evidence to for law enforcement and San Diego District Attorneys to hold those who commit sex crimes against others accountable in the courts, bringing victims, and families’ justice.

Friends of San Pasqual Academy offers much needed residential care, educational, vocational, and work readiness and self-sufficiency programs for dependent teenagers living in foster care. A place where siblings may live together, in addition to comprehensive health care, and a mentoring program, the Academy provides on-campus housing and support services to graduates of foster care support, so they may successfully pursue goals of college, vocational employment or work.

The Angels Depot feeds impoverished seniors through Emergency Meal Boxes, and seeks to improve the quality of their lives by acting as a conduit to other available resources. The second mission is promoting community awareness and support for the more than 50,000 San Diego County seniors who live in poverty and with inadequate resources to provide for their most basic needs. T

The Elizabeth Hospice is the oldest and largest non-profit hospice provider in the San Diego region. The hospice cares for nearly 500 adults and children every day. With compassion and expertise, hospice services provide support to the seriously ill and their families.

Casa de Amparo (Home of Protection) is recognized as a leader in treating and preventing child abuse and neglect in San Diego County and beyond, with locations in Oceanside and San Marcos. The non-profit organization annually serves over 1,000 Casa Kids, from prenatal to 25 years old, as well as over 700 families, through six integrated programs that promote healing, growth, and healthy relationships.

San Diego Botanical Gardens brightens the holiday with over 125,000 sparkling lights on display from December 5 -23 and 26-30, at its 32-acre urban park, featuring sculpture gardens, guided tours, bird watching, adult, children and military family specials, and a year round calendar of events and programs.

Photo Caption: Noshia and Ushia Turner, twin daughters to Hunwut Turner, Rincon Tribal Member at the Botanical Gardens Festival of Lights.