Navajo Department of Transportation lends a hand to help with aid distribution
TSE BONITO, N.M. — For the past week, the Navajo Division of Transportation (Navajo DOT) has supported the Office of the President and Vice President (OPVP) in providing relief to rural Navajo communities through food and wood distribution events.
The events focus on easing access to items like food, water, cleaning supplies and wood, which in turn provides piece of mind to community members in need.
“Our Roads and Executive staff have assisted the OPVP in providing Navajo families with basic staples to get them through the extended weekend curfews,” said NDOT Executive Director Garret Silversmith.
Throughout the week, OPVP organized food and wood distribution events at places like Black Falls Church west of Tolani Lake and the Navajo Chapters of Dilkon, Pueblo Pintado, Torreon, Nageezi, Burnham, Teesto and Greasewood Springs.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez is currently putting forth a blitz effort to get necessities into the hands that need them and slow all traffic within the Navajo Nation to further combat the spreading of COVID-19.
“It’s up to us to overcome this pandemic,” Nez said. “Vice President Lizer and I, along with community health representatives (CHR) and health care experts are all saying the same thing: stay at home, stay safe, save lives! The decision to shelter in place needs to be respected and taken seriously. These critical actions will eventually reduce the number of cases that we’re seeing. Thank you, the Division of Transportation and many others for having boots on the ground helping our people.”
The safety of all front line essential workers is paramount to every distribution event. All staff abide by and enforce a no-contact rule, social distancing and proper usage of personal protective equipment.
At the distribution events, staff asked all drivers to open their trunks and keep their windows rolled up. Vehicles with hatchbacks were not able to receive wood, only those trucks with open beds. These precautionary measures might seem excessive, but they provided safety to all involved.
Elders and high-risk clients were prioritized to receive extra cases of water.
During the weekend of the May 1-2, a 57-hour curfew was implemented by both the Navajo Nation and the city of Gallup.
The many distribution events leading up to the weekend are a tangible strike against the spreading of COVID-19 by assuring that Navajo people have food, supplies and wood.
“We want our people to stay home and stay safe,” Silversmith said.
Information provided by Navajo Department of Transportation
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