PWNA’s Continued Commitment to COVID-19 Relief

This past year, PWNA has turned its attention to serving the most immediate needs of Native Americans impacted by COVID-19. The coronavirus outbreak overwhelmed tribal communities that were already facing impoverishment and barriers to quality of life, including limited access to healthcare.

Amid this humanitarian emergency, the pandemic also highlighted unique challenges for remote reservation communities, including limited access to emergency supplies of food and water due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, prolonged receipt of federal CARES funds and individual stimulus checks, and a domino effect from school closures that left many children without access to online schooling and meals.

While PWNA was committed to emergency response for these communities, we also recognized the obvious need to pivot some of our regular year-round services. We worked with our tribal partners to understand their challenges and adjusted our operations and safety protocols accordingly. We also collaborated with other Native-serving nonprofits to better coordinate emergency relief.

PWNA made 61 COVID-19 relief deliveries between March and August 2020, reaching more than 54,000 Native Americans with food and water, PPE, household supplies, and more.

Of course, our tireless work is made possible by the support of our generous donors. Last month, PWNA received a $150,000 grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). When the COVID-19 pandemic first reached tribal communities in the U.S., CDP was the first organization to assist PWNA with a $25,000 grant. Their most recent grant will allow us to continue aiding tribes in the Southwest and Northern Plains with critical supplies through the end of the year.

Earlier this year, PWNA also received significant donations from the Latter-day Saint Charities, the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Catena Foundation, a private grantmaking organization. The LDS donation supported continuation of PWNA’s services throughout the pandemic and was part of a $5.5 million contribution to relief projects around the globe. Meanwhile, Catena Foundation’s donation helped fund our COVID-19 relief efforts with tribes in the Four Corners and Colorado River Basin area.

In remote reservation communities, relief and recovery is slower than it is for other communities across the U.S. While  COVID-19 has been hard on Indian Country, it has also helped raise awareness about the harsh realities of life many Native Americans face daily on geographically-isolated and under-resourced reservations. PWNA will continue navigating the ongoing effects of the pandemic through the end of this year, and into next year, for as long as needed to ensure Native Americans are not left behind.

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