In our April Hope Report, we described the food insecurity many tribal nations face. COVID-19 has amplified the need for assistance in Native communities, especially now. When schools closed for the summer, daily food deliveries by school lunch programs ended. Moreover, summer camps and activities have widely been cancelled, so the hot meals children would have received at camp are unavailable.
The month of May seemed to speed by as the team worked hard with the invaluable support of community volunteers, relatives, tribal leaders, local grocers, and donors. Overall, our team has felt inspired by the immense support of so many, and the ability to pass this support directly to places like Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Pine Ridge, and Navajo Nation.
Back to Basics Bundles to date
Native Hope has traveled nearly 2,000 miles since March 20 to distribute bundles of supplies. Along with the bundles, Native Hope donors Dawn, Toni, Jane, and Shawna sent us over 450 hand-sewn masks to distribute to residents on the reservation. The contributions have brought much appreciation from those in need. Melissa Johnson, the director of the Lower Brule Boys and Girls Club, commented, “I really do appreciate all you have done and helped with—very grateful.”
Our Donors to the Back to Basics program have also contributed groceries for families and individuals in quarantine and traditional medicines like sage, bitterroot, bear root, and flat cedar, used for healing teas. One elder told Toni, a delivery volunteer, to “tell Native Hope that I really appreciate the help.”
Forming partnerships and launching COVID-19 fellowships
Other exciting things happened through Facebook connections. Earlier this month, we allocated $5,000 to help relatives of the Navajo Nation and Hopi villages. Former fellow Nikki Lowe connected us with her friend Zoel Zohnnie who formed Water Warriors United to deliver water to Navajo Nation. We also contacted our friend and former fellow Waylon Pahona to assist the Hopi with supplies—each received $2,500 COVID-19 Fellowships to support their efforts.
Also through Facebook, we met our new friends from PAZA—Tree of Life and the Antinanco Earth School. With their partnership, we have been able to significantly increase aid going to the tribes in South Dakota. They endowed Native Hope with nearly $5,000 in funds to help in multiple areas including donations to the Oyate Health Center, Cheyenne River Youth Project, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, and Pine Ridge.
COVID-19 has kept us busy; however, we have found there are so many people out there willing to pitch in and give from the heart. We truly appreciate every contribution and ensure we will do our best to deliver the aid to those who need it. In closing, Melissa says it best, “Thank you for helping in our communities during these crazy times.”
Throughout this pandemic, Native Hope continues to support those in need. We understand the spirit of giving and power of storytelling. If you are able and can contribute to our Back to
Basics outreach, chip in today.