Lorraine came through to make sure the Elders in her community were covered for the winter.
The Southwest Reservation Aid (SWRA) Winter Fuel service provides utility vouchers for Elders to help with their heating bills. Staff begins the process of identifying communities to receive this annual project in late spring every year. The pandemic delayed the search efforts and commitments from this years’ partner communities, but warmth arrived just in time!
Phone tag was a game played with partners who were in and out of their offices due to Coronavirus cases increasing throughout the Navajo Nation, leaving devastating losses. Tribal restrictions were enacted throughout Indian Country to keep residents safe. Technical abilities were limited with people working from home and some communities SWRA identified weren’t able to get the necessary information collected on time.
Lorraine is the Cove Chapter House Manager.
One partner admitted it would be too much for their program — it was too challenging for them during the pandemic and they were reluctant because of safety issues, being short-handed, and limited work hours.
With the first day of summer approaching, SWRA's staff reached out to a previous partner, Lorraine, the Cove Chapter House manager, to determine if she would be able to gather the necessary information for Elders needing the service in time. She filled out the form and met with the Chapter President and the staff to determine if they could pull off the project before the deadline.
Once the Cove Elders were covered, there were additional funds for the service to extend into the Zuni community just 160 miles south of Cove!
Within six days of SWRA contacting Lorraine, she submitted a list of Elder households, and an agreement and scope of work were sent. Within another week, Lorraine had each Elders' preferred heat source (electricity or propane), including the utility companies serving each Elder and their account numbers so the vouchers could be easily credited to the Elders bill.
Once the Cove Elders were covered, there were additional funds for the service to extend into the Zuni community just 160 miles south of Cove! A total of 32 propane vouchers and 103 electric vouchers were provided to Elders in Cove and Zuni for the winter of the Pandemic.
Thank you for your support of our Program Partners like Lorraine who work hard to make sure our Elders are taken care of.
Due to social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and most importantly, concern for the health of our Native Elders, the photos above were taken pre-pandemic and repurposed for the use of this story. Thank you for understanding.
Southwest Reservation Aid (SWRA) is a program of Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA).