In the last four years, the Southern Utah News has found a way to highlight the efforts of a keen group of people who collect donations and food to provide Thanksgiving for seniors, at risk families and otherwise homebound on the Navajo reservation. Starting with meals for 40 households in the first year, last November we were able to deliver food to 100 households and provide Christmas gifts for another 60.

As a result of the articles in the SUN, several people reached out to help in various ways. We also received a very generous donation from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, which enabled us to deliver additional food boxes from January through to May to areas that have not had any assistance to date, along with the usual medical aids and hygiene products sourced through Charity Anywhere Foundation and private donations.

With the additional funds and volunteers, we have gone to new areas that had asked for help before, but for which we had no resources. In the past, we have mostly helped seniors who live by themselves in remote areas, often cannot drive, and rely on community health workers for their well-being and health because their family is far away. We are now finding more and more grandmas with a number of grandchildren in their care with little means to provide for them.

We were taken to one grandma with 10 grandchildren in her care, as both her daughters had died in a car crash. We found another grandma with six grandchildren, several who are intellectually impaired, but for whom there is no facility on the reservation. While our modest food boxes with staple supplies and hygiene items like soap and toilet paper are not going to change their world, for that day, that week and maybe beyond, they do not have to worry and have something special to share.

On one of our last delivery trips, we were taken to a young couple with three young children who are in dire need of help. To date, they have been living in part of an old travel trailer housing a double bed, baby cot, small table and a fridge. When the community health workers did a welfare check, they found the trailer in poor condition with years of water leaks and possible black mold. The owner of the trailer wants it back and the young couple who are high functioning mentally challenged have nowhere to go.

The local community near Shonto is trying to help, but also lack the resources. The plan is to rebuild an old abandoned home. They have some resources and labor, but need help with materials. They are asking for help to refurbish this home for the family before the weather turns extreme. To date, they have stripped the inside, but are on hold until they have the materials to complete the job. And so we are reaching out.

I know that if this family lived in Kanab, the community would find a way to help. Kanab is a caring community. But this family is a long way off people’s radar. And the nearest community needs help with what is a heavy lift for them.

Every now and again, a challenge is thrown in our path which seems beyond our capability. You have two choices: walk away and say it is too difficult; or try and trust that somehow it will come together. Where one fails, with many, one can succeed.

If you can help in any way or have queries, please contact Fientje Allis, coordinator of aid to the Navajo reservation For Charity Anywhere, 247 N Main, Kanab, UT 84741, 801-903-8641 or e-mail fallis2@allwest.net. We hope to raise $5000 for materials. We may also need people who can help with the building. Please leave your contact information so we can keep you informed.

If this is not your project or don’t have the time, share this with someone who might be interested. And please keep this young family in your thoughts and prayers. We will keep you posted.