Every year a group of volunteers ventures out to the Navajo reservation to bring Thanksgiving to those who otherwise would not have one: at risk households, the elderly, and otherwise homebound. We do fundraising to pay for this giveaway and if the budget allows food delivery during the winter months when some of these households may get isolated for some time when the weather turns adverse.

The boxes typically contain staple supplies that last and that are good nutritional source, like pinto beans, oatmeal, long life milk and spam, a favorite.

Many of the recipients are elderly who live in remote areas often without electricity or running water. Some cannot drive and are dependent on health care workers to check on them, while family is often far away due to lack of jobs on the reservation. Few charities/foodbanks venture off paved roads and never reach these households.

In the past years, with the generous support of many in the community we were able to share Thanksgiving with as many as 100 households. This year the situation was different.

In November last year I fell and broke my back in four places and unaware did a full off road delivery prior to Christmas.

When my legs gave way, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. One month later, Suzy, the person who was going to take over while I was dealing with the disabling side effects of chemo was also diagnosed with a serious health issue. With both of us, and me as the main fundraiser, on half capacity all year, Thanksgiving seemed like a heavy lift.

Then the gift of Thanksgiving happened with several families/groups who have supported us in the past and aware of the situation, stepping up and collecting and packing food items for 75 households, leaving just the perishables and additional staple supplies for us to organize and fund.

And so this year Thanksgiving is filled with multiple layers of gratitude. The thoughtful support of those who took a load off our shoulders so that the Thanksgiving giveaway for sure would happen again this year; the ongoing support of Charity Anywhere Foundation with their medical aids and hygiene products which we were able to deliver through the year. And the support of our local community and businesses.

Donations can still be sent and what is not used for Thanksgiving will be used for ongoing food delivery during the winter as we have the funds. Checks to Charity Anywhere Foundation/Navajo, c/o Fientje Allis, 247 N Main St, Kanab, UT 84741.

Also, Jo Anne Rando Moon is collecting dog food for the working dogs as a special giveaway. She organized a similar collection last Christmas, and it was greatly appreciated. Contact randomoon@kanab.net.

And if this is not your year, please keep the project in your thoughts and prayers for a successful food drive and delivery so all can share in the gratitude that is Thanksgiving.