Red Men brighten season for the needy

December 24, 2004|BY TARA REILLY

WILLIAMSPORT - While delivering food and gifts to 17 Washington County families on Thursday, Williamsport Red Men Club member Robert Crowmis also ended up on the receiving end.

Crowmis said he was greeted with a hug from a Washington County man who was grateful to receive donated food and other gifts from the club.

"I'm glad that we could do something for the people in Washington County, and I met a lot of happy faces today," Crowmis said. "It was a great thrill."


Crowmis, with members of Red Men Conococheague Tribe 84, helped deliver food baskets and other items to the families, who had been identified to receive the items with the help of the Williamsport Food Bank and the Community Action Council.

The food baskets included bread, milk, butter, stuffing and turkey, Red Men Club President Ron Brown said.

On Dec. 4, the Red Men members treated 30 girls from San Mar Children's Home to a Christmas dinner and gifts at the club on Lappans Road near Williams-port.

The club chartered a bus to pick up the girls.

"They danced. They had fun. It was just amazing," Brown said.

The food basket donations and the San Mar dinner were two of dozens of other charitable causes sponsored by the organization.

The club donates about $63,000 a year to approximately 80 organizations and events through proceeds from tip jars, according to information provided by the Red Men.

Brown said the local Red Men tribe, which has approximately 4,100 male and female members, takes in about $1.2 million annually in gambling proceeds.

The Donations Committee, chaired by Mac McKendrick, meets on the second Monday of every month to decide which organizations will receive contributions and how much they'll receive.

"I have the best job in the whole club, because I get to give it away," McKendrick said.

While he said it's gratifying to donate the money, it can be difficult deciding which groups to add to the receiving list.

"We go through agonizing discussions to see who gets what," McKendrick said.

McKendrick said groups that request money for children's programs usually receive a donation.

"I don't think we've ever turned down a good cause," he said.

If a group happens to be turned down, he said that doesn't mean that organization will never receive any money from the Red Men.

"If you didn't get it this year, you might get it next year," McKendrick said.

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