Taco Bell to donates $4,300 to leadership program for youth

The Taco Bell restaurants of Grand Junction will donate $4,310 to the Tree House Center for Youth, a nonprofit organization that provides services to youth and young adults age 11 to 22.

“It’s a pleasure to be able to support the Tree House Center for Youth, a community nonprofit that since 1999 has provided a number of after-school, evening and weekend programs to keep area youth on track,” said Ken Basinger, a Taco Bell franchisee.

The donation was raised through customer donations placed in Taco Bell Foundation canisters in the restaurants and through a national Taco Bell fund-raised called Graduate to Go. That program raises money through $1 donations in exchange for a coupon for a free taco.

The money will go to the Bistro Program, which trains youth to provide services to at-risk teen-agers and encourages community involvement. Youth participate in entrepreneurial projects to raise money for college scholarships as well as participate in leadership and training sessions and quarterly community service projects. More than 400 teens benefit from the program.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with receiving this grant,” said Cody Moore, executive director of the Tree House Center. “We rely 100 percent on private funders like local businesses to operate. That’s how we do what we do.”