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Coronavirus relief fund for Navajo, Hopi families running out of resources

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — A coronavirus relief fund meant for Navajo and Hopi families is running short on food and other supplies, prompting officials to ask for donations in the midst of the newest wave of rising cases.

The Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund has brought between $150,000 and $200,000 worth of food, water, PPE and cleaning supplies weekly to about 20 communities since mid-April.

Officials estimate the initial funding of more than $6 million will be gone “in a matter of weeks,” prompting the call for assistance.

“It will be devastating to our communities if we cannot continue providing food to our people during this fraught time,” Ethel Branch, the relief fund’s interim executive director, said in a press release.

The fund is hoping to raise about $6.5 million, which is expected to be the amount needed to get through flu season and closer to the date a COVID-19 vaccine is available.

Families are sent two weeks worth of food, water and PPE with the funding.

Both the Navajo and Hopi nations have enacted strict mitigation measures — including lockdowns — recently in an attempt to slow the newest surge of virus cases.

Navajo Nation, among the hardest hit communities during the pandemic, reported 15,039 cases and 631 deaths as of Sunday evening.

“We ask that everyone look into their hearts and pledge what they are able to in order to help our communities through this continued crisis,” Relief Fund Deputy Director Cassandra Begay said in the release.

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