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A Program of PWNA


 Tailgate Party... Chinle Style


Normally when you hear the term, "Tailgate Party," it's likely to conjure up images of barbequing hot dogs and hamburgers. Cars and trucks parked side by side in a huge parking lot of some football or baseball stadium with their trunks or tailgates open celebrating a game day. Friends, family, and strangers unite on one day for one cause — a team win. As fans anxiously anticipate a great game, they enjoy one another's company and share their culinary creations until the first pass or kick off is made.

Recently, we traveled to Chinle, AZ on the Navajo Reservation to distribute fresh vegetables to the community through our SWIRC food service. This distribution has some similarities to a tailgate party... PARKING LOT... TAILGATE (literally)... PASSES and of course, the main ingredient to any successful tailgate party... FOOD!

Sara and Gordon

Our food service brings fresh produce and frozen food to the Southwest reservations. This particular delivery was fresh products... tomatoes and cucumbers — 58,000 pounds or 29 tons to be exact! Program Partners are instrumental in helping to publicize and distribute the food once the truck arrives at their door. On this day, the truck arrived at the Office of Youth Development, and the partner was immediately faced with an important decision... where was the best location to get the products into the hands of the community members?

The semi truck had pulled into a parking area with an uneven dirt surface, making it impossible to use the pallet cart to unload stacks of fresh vegetables. Without alternatives, a few of the youth volunteers started unloading the truck one case at a time and people began to approach the tailgate of the semi. It was determined then and there — a Tailgate Party was about to begin!


The center arranged for Elders to get the produce first, and after they were served, other community members were welcomed.

Word spread rapidly about the food distribution. Emergency cones were quickly set up to help direct the huge lines of vehicles. Walk-ups were welcomed as well. Monte, a young man hitch-hiking between communities was an "early bird" and was given tomatoes and cucumbers for his journey. For Elders and individuals with disabilities, the vegetables were delivered straight to their vehicles. Some of our other Program Partners from Head Start, Health Promotions and Disease Prevention, as well as residential facilities, were all thankful for the fresh vegetables to incorporate into their menu planning to offer nutritious meals. One Elder (pictured right) made it before the produce was gone; Harry was very pleased he did not miss out on the Tailgate Party!

The purpose of this food service is to help relieve some of the food deficit in these remote areas. The smiles and thanks received during the deliveries showed that this was accomplished!

Thank you!

Chinle Stats

  • 5366 = Total population
  • 3555 (or 66%) = Population that speaks a language other than English at home
  • 2356 (or 44%) = Individuals below poverty level
  • Source Census 2000 Demographic Profile Highlights

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