The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, commonly known as Gun Lake Tribe, take pride in its connection to southwest Michigan. And, they carry that commitment with them today as they extend charity to their neighbors in their community and across the state.
Starting Dec. 1, visitors to the casino can earn free slots play when they bring in a gift for children and the holiday season.
Specifically, the Gun Lake Tribe, which owns Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, has donated more than $3.5 million to date. And, its members have generously given more than 4,000 volunteer hours to their communities in Allegan, Barry, Kalamazoo, Kent, and Ottawa counties, according to tribal spokesman Carter Pavey IV.
“We have an inherent responsibility to be a good steward for the community,” Pavey said in an interview with PlayMichigan. “We have a large footprint, so we have to be a large footprint. We want to give back.”
This Christmas season, The Tribe, as its members call themselves, are busy again serving as a hub for charity. For the second consecutive year, Gun Lake Casino is a drop-off location for Toys for Tots.
Make your Toys for Tots donations at Gun Lake starting Dec. 1
And, next month, from Dec. 1–18, you can feel like Santa Claus when you visit Gun Lake Casino in Wayland.
Specifically, just drop off your new and unwrapped toys at Gun Lake Casino and receive equal value in free casino slot play, up to $100.
On Dec. 1, a kickoff event will be held at the casino, designed for families, with special activities like arts and crafts and games. And, Santa Claus will also be in attendance. Bring a toy and get photos with Santa.
Notably, Gun Lake Casino doesn’t ask their visitors to do anything they won’t do themselves. The tribe buys many toys for the effort each Christmas season.
“We’re excited for our kickoff of [our] toys for tots program, partnering with Lakeshore TFT,” Pavey said. “Each year, several of our staff get to go out and purchase toys for kids of all ages, boys and girls. Our members spend the day shopping, [purchasing] bicycles, games, dolls, action figures, and more.”
$10,000 donation enabled K-9 dog to join Allegan Sheriff’s Department
In October, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department grew by four legs. Specifically, it added a K-9 dog named Jaxx to its employee roster. And, it was all made possible by a $10,000 donation from Gun Lake Casino. With Jaxx, the Allegan County Sheriff can continue to perform the important work of protecting the community. This is the third K-9 that has been purchased thanks to a donation from the Gun Lake Tribe.
And, in the first few months after Gun Lake Casino provided the funds for a dog to the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, a small child went missing in the community. Thanks to the search efforts of the dog, the child was found safe.
“That was the crowning moment, that [told us] the work we did helped the community and meant so much to a family,” Pavey said. “Allegan County is our home. They are a good partner for us. They help keep the community safe.”
Notably, the new canine Jaxx is a three-year-old Belgian Malinois who was imported from the Netherlands. And, by all reports, he is enjoying his new home with his co-workers and pals at the sheriff’s office.
Donation to Special Olympics Michigan
Last March, Gun Lake Casino and The Tribe announced a $2.5 million sponsorship of Special Olympics Michigan. Specifically, a former school in southwest Michigan is being converted into a training center thanks to the donation.
“We’ve done Special Olympics [volunteer] events over the years,” Pavey said. “When the opportunity arose, they wanted to build this world class athletic center. They want to empower and change people’s lives, and they chose southwest Michigan to build it in. We became excited and interested in the project. It’s a worldwide commitment, and they plan to host the World Special Olympics.”
Bottom line, through the purchase of toys, a commitment to local law enforcement, and much more, Gun Lake Casino and Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians are putting action to their words of community.
In the last few years, The Tribe and Gun Lake employees have donated more than 1,000 hours of service time to community projects across the region.
“It’s easy to write a check, but it’s much different to get man hours involved and reach out to the community to get them involved too,” Pavey said.