After learning about the high infection rate of COVID-19 in the Navajo Nation, Xavier Prep sophomore Caroline Purtill, Phoenix Country Day School juniors Max Goldstein and Ben Richardson and PCDS sophomore and freshman Alex and Sierra Goldstein decided to help in the fight.
“We didn’t have a lot to do and thought we might as well be helping out in our community,” Max said.
“These young warriors are fighting alongside every one of us,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said after receiving a U-Haul full of supplies from the kids on May 29 in Window Rock.
The teens named their endeavor the Navajo Nation Supply Project, and they promoted it by sending emails to people on their contact lists. Days after, they began to receive responses. Donations poured in, starting with friends and family, and then they continued coming in from other people.
“We received a lot of traction from social media accounts and a lot of donations from people we don’t know, which was amazing,” Ben said.
The group said that this has been an experience to remember. “It was shocking to see how much people do want to help out, and I never realized how much our community does come together,” Caroline said.
“The best part is that I never thought we would get more than $1,000 or even more than a couple of hundred dollars. Most rewarding is seeing the donations pile up,” Max said. Ben added, “It has been great seeing all the donations come in and then dropping off supplies. We got to meet with the president of the Navajo Nation, and that was very exciting.”
After gathering donations and going on multiple shopping trips, the group drove to Window Rock’s food distribution center. They transported essentials, including non-perishable food, diapers, baby wipes, formula, bath tissue and paper towels. “It may sound cheesy, but it does feel good to help people. I felt happy looking at the U-Haul,” Sierra said.
They spent $2,000 on water pallets and are hoping to eventually gather enough money to help set up a water tank, which will reduce the use of plastic and provide twice the amount of water in the Navajo Nation. The teens said they are learning a lot during this process, such as how to obtain building permits for water tank implementation and how best to allocate funds.
They plan to continue fundraising efforts for the Navajo Nation community and are hoping to make another trip soon.
For more: Navajo Nation Supply Project on GoFundMe.com