Diné College donates meals to Tsaile Senior Citizens Center
TSAILE, Ariz. — As part of an effort to give back to the community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Diné College began a daily meal delivery to Navajo elders in the Tsaile, Lukachukai and Wheatfieds areas of the Navajo Nation.
The Tsaile Senior Citizens Center temporarily closed two months ago because of COVID-19 concerns. The college provided the food and senior center officials alerted the community and assisted with delivery. The final senior meal delivery date was May 28.
“We’ve donated over 3,000 meals to elders during this time,” said Diné College President Charles M. Roessel. “It’s costing us about $10,000 in donating the food, but where else are they going to get that food? And that came from our students. They said: “’What happens to our elders? We want to deliver the meals.’”
Senior Center Supervisor Norman Begay, who oversees the meal deliveries, said menus consists of hot entreé items. A typical dish given out includes meats, fish, vegetables, potatoes, milk and juices.
“The dishes served meet (U.S. Department of Agriculture) standards,” Begay said. “We work with the college on this. The seniors are excited and appreciative about the delivery program.”
Elizabeth Tso, general manager at the Diné College cafeteria said the pandemic has created food insecurities at the Tsaile Senior Citizens Center for many people who regularly look forward to receiving meals.
“It’s gone very well and I think people are happy,” she said.
The cafeteria is operated by Alaska-based NMS.
“The meals are truly appreciated, especially during the crisis that everyone is going through,” Tso said.
Begay said the meals are delivered in styro-foam containers. He said a total of 50 meals are delivered five days a week.
Information provided by Diné College