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8th-Graders Donate End-Of-Year Trip Money To Navajo Nation Devastated By COVID-19

waldorf school navajo nation donation

Eighth-graders at the Waldorf School in Santa Fe, New Mexico spent the school year raising money for a year-end rafting trip. When the pandemic caused school officials to cancel the trip, students chose to put the money toward an effort to help others and used the $2,800 to purchase and deliver supplies to the Navajo Nation.

Jess Falkenhagen, one of the mothers of a student in the eighth-grade class, was aware that the Navajo Nation had been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus outbreak. In May, they reported more cases per capita than any state in the US.

Falkenhagen coordinated with Navajo leaders to create a list of urgently needed supplies including diapers, medicine, canned goods, and water.

She and her daughters purchased over 50 cans of soup, 75 pounds of potatoes, boxes of pasta, dried beans, rice, pet food, and a dozen reusable five-gallon jugs filled with water.

They then traveled to Window Rock, Arizona to deliver the supplies on behalf of the eighth-grade class.

Daisy Barnard, the students’ teacher is proud of her kids, but she said she isn’t surprised.

“This is a very generous and compassionate group of teens. They have been raised to think outside their own immediate lives and it shows in moments like this.”

“My teenage daughters really learned how expensive basic food and baby supplies are,” Falkenhagen told CNN. “It was a sobering reality for them to calculate how much baby formula and diapers we could buy with the money. And to think about how the pandemic’s unemployment would be affecting people all over the world that were struggling with providing the basics for their families.”

One of Falkenhagen’s daughters even made hand-sewn masks to donate along with the supplies.

Barnard said that despite their trip cancellation, the school community is pleased with how things ended up.

”I’ve heard from parents and students that they feel so much better knowing that the money they worked so hard to raise was going somewhere where it was needed and would make a difference.”

Susan LaMarca

Written by Susan LaMarca