San Juan College kicking off supply drive to assist Navajo Nation during COVID-19 pandemic

Supply donation drive runs for nine days beginning May 8

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
The Navajo Nation flag flies in April in Shiprock.

FARMINGTON — With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread through northwest New Mexico, several San Juan College faculty and staff members are encouraging local residents to contribute to a supply donation drive for the Navajo Nation that begins this weekend.

Community members are being asked to donate a variety of items May 8 through 16 at the drop-off site on the college campus, 4601 College Blvd. in Farmington, or make a monetary contribution online at The items needed include liquid hand soap, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, nonperishable food, bottled water, baby formula, diapers, baby wipes, and dog and cat food.

English professor Danielle Sullivan first floated the notion of conducting the drive, but she said people from departments across the college jumped in to help make it happen.

"It started off as just as an idea I had," she said. "But I was lucky enough to get support from the college."

Danielle Sullivan

Sullivan said she and her colleagues work with many Navajo students, and it is clear that people on the nation are suffering heavily from the spread of the coronavirus. She said for the second time in two days, she recently was contacted by a student seeking an extension on the due date for a paper because she had just lost a loved one to the virus.

Sullivan said examples like that make classwork seem like a trivial thing when the family members of some of her students are battling life-and-death situations.

"There are a lot of people concerned about what's going on with their Navajo neighbors," she said.

The items that are donated for the drive will be loaded into the San Juan College semi-trailer, which will be parked near the pottery studio between the West Classroom Complex and the Henderson Fine Arts Center. Donations can be dropped off:

  • 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. May
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 9
  • 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. May 11 through May 14
  • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 15
  • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 16

Sullivan emphasized that the drop-off site will be "contactless," with donors being asked to remain in their car and open their trunk so volunteers can retrieve the items, according to a press release from the college. If they wish, donors may remove the items first and get back in their car before the volunteers arrive to pick them up.

The press release states Navajo Nation officials have asked that only the items on the aforementioned list be donated for the safety of those handling the supplies. The donations will be delivered on May 18.

Vehicles travel on U.S. Highway 491 on April 25 between Shiprock and Table Mesa.

Donations to the drive are tax deductible, according to the release, and helpers will be taking the names and addresses of any donor who wishes to be sent a receipt. The Navajo Nation will send those receipts at a later date.

Sullivan encouraged local residents to support the drive.

"We're all feeling very powerless in this time of COVID-19, and this is a chance to do something about it," she said.

For more information about the drive, call TheWantToHelpLine at 505-566-4210.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or