The Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund is teaming up with Bashas’ Diné Markets to bring direct relief to families in need on the Navajo Nation, which is experiencing uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus in about 55 communities and has entered its second shelter-in-place order.
In early November, volunteers handed out more than 5,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits to Navajo and Hopi families at Bashas’ Diné Markets in Chinle, Kayenta and Tuba City. The first distribution event, held during a five-day period, was so successful that additional distributions are now planned to take place during the next three months, and more grocery store locations on the Navajo Nation will participate.
“We want to help protect Navajo and Hopi families, and do our part to help flatten the COVID-19 curve on the Navajo Nation,” said Johnny Basha, vice president of special projects for Arizona-based Bashas’ Family of Stores, the family-owned grocer that operates Bashas' Diné supermarkets. “After seeing how successful this PPE distribution was, we decided to expand our partnership with the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund by adding additional distribution events and locations, providing more families with the critical PPE that they need to protect their families.”
Bashas’ operates 130 supermarkets in Arizona, including seven Diné Markets in the Navajo Nation.
The next distribution events will be held at Bashas’ Diné Market Arizona locations in Window Rock, Dilkon and Pinon, Ariz., and Crownpoint, N.M., from Tues., Dec. 1 through Fri., Dec. 4 (or until supply is exhausted). Volunteers will distribute PPE kits from 7:30-11:30 a.m. on each of these days.
During the upcoming distributions, volunteers will have a table stationed near the grocery store exits, distributing one PPE kit to each family. Volunteers and staff will be socially distanced on either end of the table and follow all COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing face masks.
“We are happy to partner with Bashas’ Diné Markets and Sovereign Partners to help protect Navajo and Hopi community members by providing them with kinship PPE kits that each include 50-count, 3-ply masks; 75-count Clorox wipes; and 8 ounces of sanitizer,” said Ethel Branch, interim executive director of the Navajo & Hopi Families Relief Fund.
She continued, “We have been providing direct relief for the last eight months to more than 39,000 Navajo and Hopi households. We understand how difficult it is for Navajo and Hopi community members to access these PPE items. It is important to us to be able to help our relatives gain access to these items that will protect them against COVID-19. We are so grateful to our donors for making this happen. We welcome the opportunity for additional donations so that we can continue providing this service. Thank you to all the volunteers, Bashas’ Diné staff, and donors who make this partnership possible.”
The Navajo Nation, home to roughly 170,000 people, had more COVID-19 cases per capita than any state in America this summer and remains in this position, according to the Navajo & Hopi Families Relief Fund. Navajo people have a much higher risk for infection (due to a higher rate of diabetes and hypertension) and for community spread (as many have limited continued access to food and water, which create challenges when needing to self-isolate and help prevent the spread of infection). The Navajo Nation also recently implemented another weekend-long curfew to keep members from leaving the reservation and bringing COVID-19 back to their families.
To make a donation to the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund, click here.
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