The 35th Annual Christmas Airlift is now being planned for Saturday, November 9th. We will be flying into the Navajo Indian Nation at Gallup, New Mexico (KGUP), approximately 196 nm from DVT on a 055 degree true course. We will synchronize for an arrival with another core group departing Sierra Vista Libby Field (KFHU) that morning, although we are blessed to have pilots participating from across the State.
Each plane might typically have a pilot and one passenger, with all remaining space filled with clothing, toys, or non-perishable food. The Airlift has always been a fun and rewarding occasion, one our returning participating pilots look forward to each year. And this is a community service effort, with the flight and donations being tax deductible (I distribute the forms upon completion of the Airlift). Anyone who has collected a plane load of material is welcome to join us.
It is hard to understand how poor most of reservation is only a few hours from us. Many of the Navajo live in virtual third world conditions in homes without even running water or electricity. As some recommendations, the donations might be;
- ·gently used clothing for children, youth, or adults, coats / jackets of all sizes, stockings, shoes in very good condition
- ·blankets, linens, pillows, towels
- ·good condition toys in working order
- ·toiletries such as soap, shampoo, Kleenex, tooth paste / brushes, lotions
- ·non-perishable foods such as canned goods, cereals, paper goods (towels, plates, cups), trash bags large / small
Our key objective is to assure we can best fill each plane for the trip. Clothing and soft pack are ideal, as may be packed in garbage bags, which then works very well for comfortably packing and filling the planes. We try to use 12-18 gallon bags and limit the weight to no more than 20 pounds per bag – larger weights complicate the coordination on the reservation. The food stuffs, cans, and toiletries may be put in smaller cardboard boxes as the weight tends to accumulate and are easier to pack. As another option some donors create small care packages for kids. As an example, in earlier special efforts had created care baskets for young girls at a school, with Shampoo, Soap, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Lotion, some special candy, etc., understanding these simple articles can mean so very much for children who have so little.
All participating pilots are responsible for collecting clothing, toys, and food donations to fill their planes for the trip. The donations collected usually come from family and friends, schools, churches, business associates, or other groups or individuals who would like to contribute - the donations are tax deductible as is the flight. This does require each pilot to plan proactively and collect a load of donations. We strive to ensure that all planes are filled to capacity. If you have something you would like to contribute, but will not be able to join in the flight, you may contact myself or any participating flight member to help make arrangements.
We are fortunate this annual Airlift has touched the hearts of so many pilots from across the state. The past several years we have flown into Gallup, which provides greater opportunity for more pilots to participate. We strive to coordinate the departures to synchronize arrivals for the Navajo community service teams, Thoreau Navajo Outreach and Southwest Indian Foundation. We also frequently manage any final packing and balancing of extra materials in the days prior or early that Saturday morning and provide any needed final briefing for the flight and meeting at Gallup.
We will provide more details on the plans as we close in on the November date. We know that many want to The projected scheduling: