Food Distribution on New Mexico Navajo Reservation
The Navajo Nation reservation is the largest Native American reservation in the US. Its vast expanse covers more than 16 million acres of high desert in the states of Arizona, Southern Utah and New Mexico. In New Mexico, the highest rates of poverty in the state are linked to areas containing Native American reservations.
Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) recently visited the Navajo Nation reservation in Torreon, New Mexico to carry out a food distribution and a needs assessment program. The high level of poverty on the reservation in Torreon is clear to the visitor. The reservation lacks running water and many of the houses are simple structures more characteristic of housing in the developing world. High unemployment rates, low-quality education, and low-quality health care are unfortunately constant characteristics of reservations in the area. For this reason many young people have been forced to leave their ancestral lands for the city.
ZF representatives met with representatives of the Navajo government and local politicians to discuss the most pressing needs of the community of the reservation and ways by which there could be cooperative work to improve quality of life on the reservation. Later, members of the Navajo Nation slaughtered sheep donated by Zakat Foundation and the meat was distributed to 30 needy families living on the reservation. More than 100 people benefited from the meat and also from packages of beans and rice intended to last each family for at least one month.
Many Native American reservations are in desperate need for relief and development assistance. ZF hopes to be more active in such areas. ZF is concerned with the well being of vulnerable and neglected communities both around the world and within the Unites States.