Courtesy of Chris Ruiz
Students at Pleasant Grove High School work together to collect donations of needed items for Navajo Nation children. The Pleasant Grove Police Department is joining the effort while encouraging community members to donate as well.
Pleasant Grove Police Honorary Colonel Pat Wimmer has helped raise donations for the Navajo Nation in the past, but being out of state she asked the school’s resource officer to direct collecting donations.
“I wanted to involve the children. As a school resource officer, I thought this would be a great opportunity to teach these kids to learn about the service,” said Pleasant Grove Detective Chris Ruiz. “Items needed are stuffed animals, coloring books, pencils, colored pencils, small educational items for children, picture books, backpacks, general school supplies and calculators. They ask that all items be brand new, due to COVID.
Ruiz is working with Lt. Eric Trevizo of the Navajo Nation Fire Department and the Northern Diné COVID-19 Relief Effort. It is a coalition network effort serving 20 Northern Navajo Nation Agency communities, centered in Shiprock, New Mexico, according to the coalition’s website.
“I run the Law Enforcement Club and the Multicultural Club and work with Latinos in Action at Pleasant Grove High School. We got together and donated four giant cardboard boxes through Best Buy,” Ruiz said. “We decorated them, put up signs, Latinos in action put up signs in Spanish. We’re going to put it on social media and spread the word. Ideally, I’d like these boxes to be overflowing with those items that are needed. They are in dire need.
Courtesy of Chris Ruiz
COVID-19 has hit the Navajo Nation incredibly hard. They are still struggling to find enough volunteers to collect and distribute donations to those in need, and Pleasant Grove hopes to help where they can. “Supplies aren’t coming. There aren’t many donations coming in right now for these items. That’s why they had to look for those resources,” Ruiz said.
As part of this project, Amazon is donating cleaning supplies and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is donating 1,200 boxes of food, ready for distribution.
Necessary items will be collected from Pleasant Grove High School until March 11. Donations can be dropped off at the secondary school near the reception between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Ruiz can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on donations.
After March 11, Ruiz and others will deliver the items to Shiprock, New Mexico, and representatives there will distribute them to reservation communities. “I’m excited to deliver these goods that they desperately need,” Ruiz said.