Southwest Indian Relief Council
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A Program of PWNA


Success Stories

 Frozen Veggies for Pinon

Perishable

Sometimes deliveries can get sidetracked as they make their way to a food distribution. Our Program Partners work hard to distribute fresh and frozen produce to Reservation communities. Timely deliveries are critical, especially when the boxes read: "Perishable - RUSH." Getting lost or delayed is a rural reality. When you combine paved, dirt and gravel roads and unmarked intersections that only the locals know where to turn — it can pose certain challenges.

On this particular day, the driver scheduled to deliver the truckload of frozen vegetables to Pinon got lost. The distribution was scheduled for noon, but it was already closing in on lunch time when he called. He said he was in Tuba City and needed directions. Pinon is located on Navajo Nation in Arizona and rests northeast of the Hopi Reservation. If your wish is to travel only on paved roads to arrive in Pinon, then you need to be traveling from Chinle going west. Coming in from any other direction, it's inevitable you will hit gravel/dirt roads during your journey; it will likely involve several choices of "should I take this dirt road or that one?" Being in Tuba City, nearly 100 miles northeast from Pinon meant he needed help.

Truck

The Program Partner determined a "recognizance" car should go out to retrieve the driver and food. The "recon" car traveled about half the distance between Pinon and Tuba City and waited patiently with their flashers blinking to ensure the truck driver would see them when he reached the designated intersection. That didn't work — the truck and the vegetables whizzed by the blinking car! The recon car was finally able to catch up to the food (and the driver), passed the truck and led them into Pinon. It was a couple of hours past the distribution time, but once the truck arrived, unloading was quick work.

Several volunteers were ready to unload all the pallets of frozen vegetables (almost 40,000 pounds!) and get them into the hands of the patient Elders and community members. There were carrots — they were the heaviest of all the vegetables — corn, mixed vegetables and green beans. The beans were the last to be unloaded, but people visited, swapping recipes and cooking tips, as they patiently waited for this nutritious green veggie full of fiber and vitamins to be shared with them!

Louise

Everyone was grateful for the vegetables and talked about how it would save them money. Some Elders shared that it would be really helpful because they cared for their grandchildren and the budget is already tight. Even with the delay, the vegetables were still frozen, the line of waiting people disappeared quickly and the driver headed back home probably wishing he had left a trail of corn to find his way back to a paved road!

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!

Pinon Stats
  • 1190 = Total population
  • 653 (or 55%) = Population that speaks a language other than English at home
  • 551 (or 46%) = Individuals below poverty level
  • Source Census 2000 Demographic Profile Highlights


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