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Donated turkeys help nonprofits help others

In preparation of the upcoming holiday season, the Prairie Island Indian Community and Treasure Island Resort & Casino have donated more than a 1,000 turkeys to area nonprofits.

The need to help families put a meal on the table during the holidays continues to rise. Locally, demand is up close to 15 percent from last year alone, said Paul Drotos, Red Wing Elks Lodge co-chair for the holiday baskets program.

Elks members have been doing the holiday basket program for 50 years, Drotos said, who is in his 32nd year with the project.

This year the Elks plan to put together up to 160 meals for families in need, a number they would not have been able to reach without the help of the Prairie Island Indian Community and Treasure Island.

“We are deeply grateful,” Drotos said, adding that the holiday basket project has turned into one of the most popular things the lodge does.

Cindy Taube, public relations manager for Treasure Island, said it is mostly a grassroots effort in how they are pushing this out into the community. Taube also coordinates the distribution of turkeys to the local nonprofits.

Treasure Island has to order the turkeys in the summer and staff members plan to help the groups as much as possible, she said.

Taube said the donations started about four years ago and each year the crews have become better at estimating the need and what the groups are able to handle.

The Red Wing Elks Lodge, the HOPE Coalition, the Red Wing Food Shelf and Hastings Family Service all received turkeys this year through the Prairie Island Indian Community and the tribal-owned casino.

Treasure Island and the Prairie Island Indian Community do tremendous good without much fanfare, Drotos said, and people need to know that.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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