Christmas on the Reservation
Christmas is almost here and countless individuals and families are preparing for the tradition of gift giving, planning food specifically for the season, or taking this time to reflect back on the year and assess their lives in order to move into the New Year with renewed enthusiasm and purpose. This is also a time to think of others.
On the many Native American reservations we serve, Christmas celebrations also take place. PWNA provides supplies and assistance for Native Americans — U.S. citizens — living in some of the most remote, isolated and economically distressed areas of this country. Many of these communities are challenged by a lack of jobs, housing, transportation, access to basic services and numerous other challenges to quality of life. Think about your own lives: How would a lack of income or access make this holiday season even more difficult for you to enjoy?
Regardless of the present hardships, though, the holiday spirit is alive and well in Native communities. The holiday spirit is manifesting in people coming together to share food and traditional stories, help one another and give thanks for another year of life.
PWNA supports this special time for our partners across the Southwest and Northern Plains reservations. This year, through PWNA Holiday Services, we are providing:
- Holiday stockings for more than 23,400 Native American children across 34 reservations, and rumor has it that Santa will be visiting reservation communities as well to share in some of the celebrations
- Food for 2,300 people at Christmas community meals, including delicious turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing
- Holiday gift bags for more than 12,400 Native American Elders, filled with practical items such as first aid kits, smoke detectors, blankets, gloves, socks, personal care items and nonperishable food
I have been fortunate to see the impact PWNA Holiday Services have on the lives of the individuals and communities we serve. Recently, I attended a Thanksgiving community event and helped serve the meal at an Elder Nutrition Center (ENC) of the Navajo Nation. After everyone was served, the Elders invited staff to sit with them and share in the celebration. I sat by an Elder who shared how grateful she was for the support PWNA provided to the ENC. “I was looking forward to this gathering, I live alone and my children are far away and cannot be here for the holidays. I appreciate the meal, but I am more thankful about being able to visit with others in my community,” she said.
PWNA is only able to give holiday gifts such as this because of the support we get from our donors. Please know that your presence is felt during moments just like this, and your kindness is always remembered — even by those you have not met.