Elks Assist Communities in the
Some communities have been hit harder by the pandemic than others, like the Navajo Nation, which occupies the corners of three states, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. To date, one in every 12 Navajo people living on the reservation have contracted COVID-19.
There are only 13 grocery stores in the entire 27,000-plus square mile Navajo reservation—that is one store per 13,359 people, which makes equitable access to healthy food and clean water incredibly difficult. Three Arizona Lodges understood that the pandemic exacerbated the needs of their Navajo neighbors, and they applied to use Community Investments Program Grants to facilitate greater access to food and clean drinking water. Page Lodge No. 2498 borders the Navajo reservation, and it merged its Spotlight, Gratitude and Beacon Grants together for a total of $7,500 to fund the creation and distribution of food baskets.
Holbrook Lodge No. 2450, which also neighbors the Navajo Nation, decided to use its first-ever Beacon Grant to donate funds to the First Step Workshop and Catholic Charities. First Step Workshop offers training, employment and job supervision of adults with disabilities in Navajo County, and Catholic Charities is specifically working to bring food, shelter and other support to individuals in the Navajo Nation during this time of hardship.
Sun City Lodge No. 2559 merged its Spotlight and Beacon Grants to donate water tanks to the Navajo Nation to improve access to clean drinking water.
“Inequitable access to drinking water and water for hygiene contributes to the high COVID case rate in the Navajo Nation, and we hope our efforts will have a positive impact,” says Bob Jeschke, grants coordinator for the Sun City Lodge.
The Elks National Foundation allocated $14.6 million this year to fund the Community Investments Program. To learn more about the Community Investments Program and this year’s flexible grant guidelines, please visit elks.org/CIP.