Gila Valley Rotary seeks to help Navajo Nation

David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central. Members of Gila Valley Rotary join with representatives of Our Neighbor's Farm and Pantry to promote on KATO radio an event gathering supplies for the Navajo Nation. Pictured are, from left, Rotary's Chris Gibbs; Stacey Scarce, executive director for Our Neighbor's Farm and Pantry; Rotary's Dennis Sawyer; and Jeanine Yellowhair-Brown, a Navajo tribal member and Americacorps volunteer with Our Neighbor's Farm and Pantry.

SAFFORD — The Gila Valley Rotary is seeking the public’s help to assist those dealing with COVID-19 on the Navajo Nation.

The local Rotarians are holding an event this weekend to gather supplies to be taken to the White Cone area of the Navajo Nation, where just a single convenience store is the only source of food and supplies for thousands of people.

“(There are no fresh vegetables), no meat, not enough water; there’s just so little that people have up there,” Jeanine Yellowhair-Brown, a Navajo Nation tribal member who works with Americorps and Our Neighbor’s Farm and Pantry, said during an appearance on Voice of the Valley. “That’s the reason I want to help; that’s the reason my heart is there. I just want to get there and help somebody, even if it’s just one or two people. But with the Rotary’s help, we’re going to serve so many more people.”

Gila Valley Rotary is seeking donations of:

● Antibacterial hand wipes

● Hand sanitizer

● Large bottles of bleach

● Bleach spray

● Bleach wipes

● Face masks

● Gloves

● Cold Medicines

● Laundry detergent

● 99 percent and 90 percent alcohol

Gila Valley Rotary will also accept monetary donations, which can be used a charitable contribution for tax purposes. And donors can purchase Navajo tacos and Rotary root beer floats, with proceeds to benefit the White Cone humanitarian effort.

The Navajo Nation has been among the hardest hit by COVID-19 in the United States, with 6,724 cases and 322 deaths as of Wednesday — a death rate of 177 per 100,000 people, which is a higher rate than any U.S. state.

There are only 13 stores to serve the tribe’s 27,413 square-mile reservation, which stretches across three states, and one-third of all households do not have running water.

The event will take place Saturday, June 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the vacant lot on 8th Street next to the railroad tracks, across from Walmart and near the intersection with 20th Avenue.

For more information, call Yellowhair-Brown at 928-965-6266 or Stacey Scarce at 337-326-0709.