The 2021 Tewa Holiday Project was an unmitigated success! Over $23,800 in cash donations, 176 brand new coats, hand knit hats and 110 Blankets delivered to Tewa and Hopi children, 85 hand knit hats delivered to Tewa elders, and over 150 brand new wrapped presents delivered to Tewa children. All of this is thanks to the unselfish and generous “Tewa Holiday Project” community from Homer Alaska to Stratham New Hampshire and points in between. All made possible because of you!
Over the course of the last two weeks of November and the first week of December the three different elements of the Tewa Holiday Project came together. Turkeys from Clark’s Market, personal items from Dollar Tree, food and vegetables from Bashas, beans and oranges from Enchantment Resort, tooth brushes and toothpaste from Delta Dental. As these items came in, they were staged at the Manzanita Outreach Warehouse in Cottonwood. Toys4Tewa toys were gathered from Dale and Rosemary Stellick at Rosedale Hair Salon and Annie Hunter of the Hummingbird House and were staged in my garage. The Coats4Kids coats along around 250 hand knit hats were methodically organized out at Verde Valley School by the amazing Caroline Diehl.
On Friday December 10, the Coats4Kids coats, hand knit hats and blankets were delivered to First Mesa Elementary, a church group at First Mesa and the Headstart Program at Second Mesa. The weather started out marginal but, as many of us know once you get past Flagstaff the roads get better. The delivery to First Mesa Elementary was touch and go as Caroline was told just 15 minutes from the school that they would be closed at 10 AM due to a Covid outbreak at the school that morning. Nonetheless the delivery was made to the school, the church group and Second Mesa Headstart without a hitch.
During the last few days running up to our delivery on the 11th of December the staff and volunteers from Manzanita Outreach performed an amazing feat. They placed all of the food and personal items into their very cool milk crate system and stacked and palletized them for the delivery to the Tewa Center at First Mesa. On December 11th at O dark 30, two large trucks headed out to First Mesa. On the truck were the 1,400 pounds of turkeys, 2,125 pounds of pinto beans, 850 pounds of potatoes, 425 pounds each of apples, oranges, carrots, flour and sugar. Plus, many other food items including cooking oil, oatmeal, pasta, rice, shampoo, lotion, dental items, hand sanitizer, dish soap, on and on.
When the trucks arrived at the Tewa Center at about 10:45 they were greeted by a horde of enthusiastic Tewa volunteers ready to go to work. By 11:30 everything was unloaded from the trucks and organized for delivery to the Tewa Elders. The Elders were scheduled to form up at 12:30 PM and the delivery was to start at 1:00 PM. But by the time we finished the setup at 11:30 the line of Elders was already around the building and heading out to the Highway. We began the delivery and by 1:15 PM 80 of the 85 Tewa Elders had received their supplies from a well-oiled machine. When an elder drove up 9 items were placed into each truck or car: three 25-pound bags of food and personal items, Ten-pound bag of potatoes, five-pound bag of carrots, a turkey, twenty-five-pound bag of pinto beans, five-pound bag of flour and a blanket and off they went.
I am very grateful for all of the donations made by our Tewa Community. But a special shout out to Ben Burke and Mike Newcomb and the volunteers from Manzanita Outreach, Dale and Rosemary Stellick, Annie Hunter, Caroline Diehl, Mike Wise, Joel Bowers, Jeremy and Kendra Ivey, Sandy Immerso, Mary Smoak, Milton Crewse and the Hat ladies, Christi Bulot, Wendy Jacobsen, Christina Lembert, Teresa Helm, Ellen Ferreira and Sedona Kind, Dan Reierson and the crew at Bashas in Sedona and Dave Miller and the meat department at Clark’s Market.
Covid 19 once again made this year’s Tewa Holiday Project different. It was not the personal hands-on experience that makes it so rewarding for our participants. Those of you that have made the delivery trip in the past know what I am talking about. The outpouring of gratitude from the Tewa Elders and the Village of Tewa community makes this all worthwhile and demonstrates how important this delivery is to the Tewa Community, at this time of year. The success of this and every year of Tewa Holiday Project is 100% due to the amazing support of our Tewa Community and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continuing support.
The Tewa Elders and the Village of Tewa are already looking forward to next year. I know that for myself, I am too. We will have to wait until later in 2022 to see if we will once again be able to make the group delivery.
Until then, be safe, be kind and put positive energy out into the universe, for all our sakes.
Tewa Holiday Project
The Tewa people are humble and appreciative of the outpouring of kindness demonstrated through this project! Generous and loving people you all are! COVID-19 has taken a great toll on our people, yet we continue to survive. The gifts are truly appreciated and will relief to many. Kuna’ah!!