River Warriors, Peacekeepers Society organize massive donation drive thru
NESPELEM - In a grassroots effort that saw tribal members helping tribal members, the Peacekeepers Society and River Warriors Society organized a massive drive-thru event in Nespelem, July 21.
“The Peacekeepers reached out to us and asked how they could help,” said River Warriors’ Faith Zacherle. “They wanted to help our reservation with everything under the sun community members would need being under the stress of these fires.
We wanted to relieve some of the hardship that our members and communities are under.”
In total, the groups distributed over 40,000 pounds of food, water, hygienic products and other items in a drive-thru set up at the Chief Joseph Reststop in Nespelem.
“There’s a lot of people in need,” said Xuxuxyay Raven, Peacekeepers Society Executive Director. “We knew we didn’t want to come up here, run out, and have to come back again the next day because we do not have enough. There is a lot of people here.”
Peacekeeper’s society is a 501c3, tribal nonprofit, from Harrah with the mission of providing life-changing opportunities for indigenous people, said Raven.
As part of emergency response, the Peacekeepers have worked for four years.
Last year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peacekeepers served 12 tribal nations and over 7,000 families with nearly 347,000 pounds of food, according to Raven.
“We know the River Warriors Society and all the work they do,” said Raven. “We have a lot of friends and families up here. We knew there was a lot of help needed, so we reached out to them and asked how we could collaborate and serve the community.”
The River Warriors have been working 16-hour days since the start of the fire, said Zacherle, noting the grass-roots organization had helped providing housing for two families who suffered home losses in the fire, distributing gift cards, gas cards, offering counseling, digging contingency lines around people’s home and providing additional responses services.
“It’s important to note the effectiveness of grassroots, tribal non-profits,” said Raven. “We are able to get it done really fast, getting services to people who need it without restrictions. This intertribal relationship is important. If people want to help, donate.”