Monday, September 2, 2013

Food Run Report - Navajo Mountain 8/22/13

by John Aldrich

After an overnight rest in Kayenta following the Oljato food run we set out early on Wednesday morning for Navajo Mountain. It's a nearly 2 hour drive but a meditative and beauty-filled experience. The sky was overcast, and since the elevation at our destination is so much higher, the temperature on the mountain was very pleasant.

The box crew went right to work unloading and setting up the Rainbow Circle. Shawn rests for a moment with some of the boxes that came from his pickup while C.J. looks on.

The gift of water is unique to Navajo Mountain, and this vehicle carrying a portion of that load is riding low under the weight.

The final result is a beautiful array of food boxes, produce, gift boxes, and water.

As preparations proceeded there was time for volunteers to visit with Elders. Teresa, on her first food run, was able to meet her Grandma, Rose Atene. With Beverly Benally translating, they had a good visit.

Melyssa and Jim were able to spend time with their Elder, Betty Benally.

Ruby Burns is the director of the senior center at Navajo Mountain and also serves as our coordinator. She does a fine job and was honored with a gift basket at the start of the food run program.

Linda and Mary Begay again teamed up to conduct the program and translate.

For Navajo Mountain, the American Express gift box contained fabric and an assortment of other useful items. Mary explains to the Elders what they will be receiving.

When it's time for Elder giveaways, there is always an outpouring at Navajo Mountain. That's one of the things that makes this such a special food run. This photo shows only a portion of the people who lined up to give rugs, jewelry, and crafts to the Program or to their sponsor or other volunteers.

First time food run volunteers are often the subjects of favors from Elders. In this case, Pam and Peggy received generous gifts from Emma Seaton.

And Teresa received this beautiful little ceremonial basket from Rose.

During the Program giveaways, each male Elder received a coil of rope.

Della Graymountain, age 98, looks over the assortment of fabric colors.

To help with the upcoming winter male Elders received a heavy jacket or coat.

Not many school-aged children come to the food run here, but this young first grader is excited to find out what's in her gift box.

As volunteers start setting up tables for the meal, Ruby and one of her assistants fill containers with food. The Elders are served first and then the volunteers can eat.

After this fortification, the box crew is ready to go back to work loading the Elders' vehicles.

They pause for a moment With Buck Navajo after loading his truck.

Near the conclusion of the food run a new Elder is taken into the Program. Beverly chats with Eva Bowsley to obtain the needed information to fill out the intake form.

Before going our separate ways, we gather in a closing circle to share a few final thoughts and expressions of gratitude. We will look forward to returning to this wonderful place again next spring.