CORONAVIRUS: STRONGER TOGETHER

Utah Group To Fly Supplies To Remote Arizona Community

Feb 9, 2021, 5:25 AM

SPANISH FORK, Utah – A group of volunteers was preparing Monday for a helicopter flight to deliver some much-needed supplies to a remote community in Arizona.

Leta Greene said Jeddito, Arizona, which lies within an exclave of the Navajo Nation surrounded by the Hopi Reservation, has been particularly hard hit during the pandemic.

“They don’t have access to running water, they don’t have electricity in a lot of the homes,” Greene said. “I think the reason it’s hitting them harder is they don’t have soap that’s as accessible. When our grocery stores got cleaned out, they were cleaned out and you’re looking at one grocery store supplying how many hundred square miles — so they’re cleaned out and they’re the last in the chain to get these things, and it’s literally a food desert.”

Greene, who has a Native American sister in Jeddito, said lockdowns, curfews and fines for violations only seemed to make matters more complicated in terms of accessing goods.

She first took $30,000 worth of supplies down to the area last summer and has since networked with others in Utah to build greater community support for relief efforts.

This time, she and other volunteers planned to deliver water bottles with filters for 358 individuals as well as containers of cleaning agent for 153 households.

“This right here — Jeddito cleaner — is named after the town it is supporting,” Greene said, referencing one of the containers. “This is 30 gallons of cleaner that is able to eradicate and take care of different germs and bacteria in their homes.”

Volunteers prepare for a helicopter flight to deliver supplies to a remote community in Arizona. (Photo: Andrew Adams, KSL TV) Volunteers prepare for a helicopter flight to deliver supplies to a remote community in Arizona. (Photo: Andrew Adams, KSL TV) Volunteers prepare for a helicopter flight to deliver supplies to a remote community in Arizona. (Photo: Andrew Adams, KSL TV)

The group was also planning to deliver coloring books and crayons for children as well as lollipops, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

“I can’t think of anything I’ve done that’s so consistently rewarding and — especially in a time of pandemic — that’s brought me peace,” said Stephanie Wardrop, who also helped to organize the trip.

York Galland offered a ride in his state-of-the-art red helicopter to make the delivery.

“I’m doing this on my dime — my time, my fuel, my aircraft,” Galland said. “My understanding is the Navajo Nation has really struggled and suffered more than most I think, so it’s a good opportunity to connect.”

The helicopter was expected to take off Tuesday for Jeddito.

Greene and Wardrop in recent months have organized the Facebook group “Collaboration: Ripples of Change” with plans for future charitable acts in other communities.

“We’re hoping a lot of people want to support it because then we can just go to the next community,” Greene said. “It makes a big difference when you put all that together.”

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Utah Group To Fly Supplies To Remote Arizona Community