Laura Montoya And Operation Bandana New Mexico Partner To Help Native American Communities At Ground Zero

Navajo Chapter visit. Courtesy/OBNM

Lyanbito Chapter visit. Courtesy/OBNM

National Guard assists with distribution of needed items to pueblos. Courtesy/OBNM

OBNM News:

Laura M. Montoya and Operation Bandana New Mexico in collaboration with the National Guard, several Navajo Chapter leaders and Operating Engineers Local 953, traveled to seven Navajo Chapters and four hospitals in McKinley and San Juan Counties.

Chapters visited were Iyanbito, Pinedale, Church Rock, Tohatchi, Sheep Springs (distribution site for 10 chapters), and Newcomb. Shiprock, Upper Fruitland, Nenahnezad, Burnham, Hogback and San Juan Chapters delivery were unpacked at the Operating Engineers Union Hall and delivered this week in order to respect the 8 p.m. curfew enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tractor trailer had a delivery of water, food, toiletries, diapers, hand sanitizer, wipes, Clorox and other essential supplies, including more than 1,200 home-made masks by many volunteer mask makers from Santa Fe, Sandoval, Rio Arriba, Torrance and Bernalillo counties. Emergency Medical Services for four Navajo chapters received masks and gloves. Hospitals received critical medical supplies including gloves, masks, face shields and decontamination kits. Fabric and elastic were dropped off to the Veterans Helping Veterans Sewing Angels and the Gallup Sewing Circle to Fight COVID-19 in Gallup as well as another sewing crew in Farmington.

“Operation Bandana New Mexico is grateful to all our volunteers and supporters who helped us collect essential items for this humanitarian effort. The needs are greater than just one trip. We are organizing another trip Friday, May 22 to several pueblos and more Navajo Nation chapters,” said Robin Thomson Carrillo Ortiz, founder of Operation Bandana NM.

“The reality is that this is a band aid to the inequities that many native communities face in not having clean, drinking water. Native communities make up 11 percent of our New Mexico population, yet are negatively impacted by COVID almost five times greater than everyone else. This is due to lack of affordable and accessible healthcare as well as clean, drinking water. Many chapters have approximately 20-50 homes that still do now have running water,” said Laura M. Montoya, candidate for Congress in District 3. “Through this pandemic, I look at the opportunity to fight against these inequities by shining light on the need and am thankful for the outpouring of love and support that other counties have given to those that are struggling the most through this pandemic.”

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Pinedale Chapter visit. Courtesy/OBNM

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