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Cabazon Band Gifts $40K to Ronald McDonald House

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The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, behind the successful Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, recently donated $40,000 to the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House.

The band—represented by Chairman Doug Welmas, Vice Chairwoman San Juanita Callaway, Liaison to General Council Alexis Nichols, Member at Large Brenda Soulliere and Treasurer Helen Ruth Callaway—presented the donation to Mike Kovack, executive director of the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House.

“The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians are proud to offer this gift to be used for the expansion project of the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House. They provide a home away from home for many Coachella’s Valley’s families in need and this donation will help them continue to serve our community,” Welmas said.

Coachella Valley families make up 43 percent of the Loma Linda House’s guests annually and is the highest served community within the temporary housing program—as these families would need to travel over an hour and a half for emergency care at the children's hospital's facilities.

The Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House is working to raise the final $3.3 million of its $12 million capital campaign to more than double its size in an effort to support more families with critically-ill children. In 2013, the House referred more than 800 families to hotels because it was at capacity. Plans to expand include adding 33 rooms, increasing the total number from 21 to 54. The new guest rooms will be located in two three-story towers built directly east and west of the existing house. Executive Director Mike Kovack said in addition to more rooms, the expansion will include improvements to its kitchen and dining areas, as well as common areas and office space.

The Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House keeps families close to their critically ill child while they receive life-saving medical treatment. According to recent studies families staying at a Ronald McDonald House reported a more positive overall hospital experience and improved coping abilities because they were able to stay together. 

“Ronald McDonald House Charities strives for bringing people together to find solutions and by strengthening families during difficult times,” said Jay Brand, president of the board of trustees of the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House. “Programs like The Ronald McDonald House make a positive impact upon children and families around the world by enabling family centered care.” 

Goals include growing and diversifying its business ventures to increase employment in the Coachella Valley, increasing the support of community programs, continuing to pursue economic self-sufficiency and preserving and educating the public about Cabazon culture.