Sunday, April 8, 2012

Food Run Report - Oljato 3/28/12

by John Aldrich

As the first food run of the year, the event at Oljato is keenly anticipated. Those of us who relish these trips to the Land haven't had an opportunity to go since the previous October. This, combined with the inherent beauty of the places we visit, made this initial food run for 2012 a very popular event. We had a total of 35 volunteers this time, easily the largest group to ever attend this particular food run.

The routine to meet in Mexican Hat at the San Juan Inn the afternoon before heading to Oljato was unchanged from previous years. The following morning, after a hearty breakfast at the Olde Bridge Restaurant, we met on the patio for instructions and job assignments. We were blessed with another perfect day - sunshine, moderate temperatures, and, best of all, no wind.

Here Linda and Boyd Mitchell listen as C.J. Robb explains the logistics of the convoy to Oljato.

Later, volunteers review a printed sheet of instructions.

When we arrive at the food run location in Oljato, the Senior Center, everyone takes a moment for the group picture before getting to work at their assigned tasks.

At many food runs men can be in short supply for the outside work - unloading all the food boxes, gift boxes, and produce. This time there were plenty of muscles so no one individually had to overexert themselves.

The final result is the neatly arranged Rainbow Circle.

While the Rainbow Circle is being arranged outside, the program giveaways are being set up inside. This is part of the group working with Wendy Sanborn, ANE assistant director, at this task.

And here's a portion of the colorful display they created.

Elders are arriving throughout the time these preparations are going on. Here is Linda escorting Zettie Smith into the Senior Center.

 The period during which all this set up is taking place also provides an opportunity for volunteers to  spend time with Elders. Here Sheila McKinney visits with Ruth Holiday.

Once the food run program is underway, various presentations are made. Here Fientje Allis presents a food certificate to Jessie Bedonie.

Another presentation is a gift of yarn and warp to all the weavers. Here are several of the 8 or 9 Oljato weavers who received this gift.

Dru and Leslie Drury are long-time supporters of ANE who were attending their first food run. They had been sponsors of an Elder who recently passed away. On this food run they had the opportunity to meet their new Elder, John Holiday.

The last thing to happen is getting Elders' vehicles loaded. This photo shows three first-time volunteers, Levi Lambson, Bill Wikle, and Don Lambson with Meta Atene.

A majority of Elders attending food runs are accompanied by younger family members - children and grandchildren. Family support for their Elders is a Navajo cultural tradition. We close with a parting shot of three generations heading to their vehicle after another successful food run.

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