In less than a month, incoming Xavier College Prep Junior Caroline Purtill and her friends raised over $15,000 to purchase supplies for the Navajo Nation.
Learning the Navajo Nation was experiencing a high rate of COVID-19, Purtill and her friends decided to do something. The students contacted officials at the Navajo Nation to find out exactly what the residents needed, and they took swift action.
Purtill and friends initiated a social media and email campaign informing people about the need and asking for donations. Through their Twitter account @FundNavajo and GoFundMe project named Navajo Supply Project, “They received donations from $5 to $1,000 and suddenly the amount became almost overwhelming,” said Susan Purtill, Caroline Purtill’s mother.
The students took the funds to Costco and Walmart to purchase goods like sanitizer, water, cleaning supplies, diapers, baby formula, and non-perishable food. “We spent over eight hours at Costco just getting stuff and bringing it to the house in one day,” said Purtill.
Purtill and friends loaded a U-Haul with the supplies and drove 5.5 hours with their parents to Window Rock and delivered the items. Purtill said:
When we got to the Navajo Nation it made us tear up. People were living in dilapidated, tiny houses. There was no running water, and electricity was spotty. When we began unloading, residents drove by were waving and taking photos. They were really happy to see us.
After we unloaded the supplies, the President of the Navajo Nation brought us onto a conference call with Senator Pelosi he was having at that precise moment. It was a humbling experience.
It made me feel extremely grateful for all that I have and for the opportunity to attend a school like Xavier. The education system at the Navajo Nation doesn’t come close to anything we have here.
When asked if the experience changed her, Purtill said, “Absolutely. It’s made me want to keep on helping. It showed me that we take what we have for granted. We’re already planning another trip to deliver supplies later in the summer.”
To donate to the Navajo Nation Supply Project at their GoFundMePage. Click here.