Thursday, August 29, 2013

Food Run Report - Oljato 8/21/13

by John Aldrich

Food runs for the fall season started last week with visits to Oljato and Navajo Mountain. The remainder of the fall runs will commence in a month. We met in Mexican Hat on Tuesday for our initial orientation and food run ceremony. It was a hot day in the upper nineties, but a little cloud cover did help as we sat outside for the ceremony. Our ceremony theme for the fall is symbols. Everyone chose a symbol that meant something important to them and discussed it briefly. As you might imagine there was quite a variety of thoughts offered.

On Wednesday we awoke to a pretty sunrise and were blessed that the cloud cover persisted throughout most of the day. This kept the edge off of what would otherwise have been an even hotter day.

As we met on the patio overlook volunteers received specific instructions about the job assignments as well as other logistical information about the food runs.

We posed for the group picture at the same location before starting out for Oljato. Our group was a little smaller this time at 22, but there were still plenty of people to get the various jobs done.

We greatly missed Wendy on this trip, but she had to stay home after her home was nearly destroyed by a wildfire just prior to the food run. C.J. and other experienced volunteers helped to fill the void, but there is really no substitute for Wendy.

When we arrived at the senior center the box crew went to work unloading Dru's trailer. We've been fortunate to have Dru and Leslie join us for the recent food runs to Oljato. Their spacious trailer can carry all the food boxes and produce for this location as well as many of the gift boxes.
When the work was done the Rainbow Circle was a beautiful sight.
Inside, the biggest job was arranging all of the Program giveaways on tables at the front of the room. This group includes Teresa and Mary who were on their first food run. Stryder, who came from New York State with her grandfather, was on her second food run at age 12.

Pam was another volunteer on her first food run and was excited to meet her Grandma, Bessie Black.

When the food run program got underway, Linda honored our coordinator, Bessie Holiday. Bessie does a wonderful job serving her Elders as the director of the senior center.

Mary Robertson Begay again made the trip from her home in Hardrock to serve as our translator.

And here, Mary shows the Elders the gift that each of them will receive, a new blanket donated by American Express. American Express generously supports both the Oljato and Navajo Mountain food runs.

Then it was time for everyone to smile as the duet of Joe and Leslie led us in a round of Happy Birthday to honor the oldest Elders. Whether they were chosen for their voices or their good looks, they did a fine job.

During the giveaways we have a peek into Ruth Blackmountain's gift bag and see a portion of the things she has received.

After the meal it's time to start loading the food and gift boxes into the Elders' vehicles.

As they come outside many of the Elders like to look for their boxes.

While some of the volunteers pause for some shopping.

The youngest attendee of the food run appears angelic in cradleboard and swaddling. Many family members bring their Elders to the food run and we thank them for their effort.

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