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Frequently Asked Questions

Am I the only person supporting the Elder that I adopt?

No, we try to have two individuals actively supporting an Elder so that they receive regular support throughout the year. The Rainbow Food Boxes delivered to the Elder are delivered twice each year (spring and fall) by volunteers in the Program. These food boxes are only one way that the Elders' needs can be met.

What are my responsibilities in "adopting" an Elder?

If you decide to adopt an Elder, you must provide their Rainbow Food Boxes for the two semi-annual food runs (spring and fall). See the Trading Post area for information on boxes that can be sent to your Elder.

Once you have completed the application process and have been provided an Elder's name and information, you will have an idea of other items that the Elder needs. It is then your choice what other items from that list you choose to provide and how often.

How often should I be sending things to an Elder?

You must provide their Rainbow Food Boxes semi-annually. However, food certificates are always needed and can be sent at any time. Gift certificates to WalMart (located throughout the reservation areas) are a means to allow Elders to purchase clothing, shoes or other items they may need. These gift certificates can be purchased at your local WalMart and mailed directly to your Elder.

Letters are also a great method of maintaining contact with your Elder, even though many Elders do not read or write English. Elders often have family members who will read sponsor letters to them. These letters and food certificates are particularly appreciated at Thanksgiving and Christmas. See Giveaway Circle

How do I know the Elder receives what I send?

The only way you can be certain that your Elder has received a box you have sent is to send the postal form "Return Receipt Requested." The Elder, or a member of their family must sign for the package at the post office before it can be claimed. The signed receipt is then returned to you by the post office. Please remember that many of the Elders live very long distances from the post office and may only get a ride to the post office once or twice per month.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SEND ITEMS UPS -- United Parcel Service does not deliver on the reservation.

What do I do when the Elder requests items that I cannot provide for them?

Write the Elder and kindly indicate that you cannot provide what they are asking for. It is the policy of the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program that we do not send money or provide items other than those listed on your Elder's adoption information sheet. In your letter, you can simply state that the request is outside of the focus and purpose of the Program.

Can I send items by UPS to my Elder?

United Parcel Service DOES NOT deliver items to any post office box and there is no delivery service on the reservation.

What is the best way for me to support an Elder?

Food certificates, the Firewood Fund and Rainbow Food box programs are the easiest and most effective. If your Elder weaves, the yarn program is always a very appreciated gift.

Can I visit the Elder when I'm in Arizona?

Not generally. Most Elders live a very long way from highways. The best option for meeting your Elder is to join on one of the regularly scheduled Food Runs.

If you are planning a trip to Arizona, you may contact the Program and see if we can make arrangements for you to meet the Elder. In some cases, the Elders have expressed a desire not to meet individuals at times other than regularly scheduled food runs.

Is it okay to send used clothing?

Only items that are in "as new" condition and suitable for the Elders who are living a traditional lifestyle (i.e., no high heels, low cut or sleevless blouses, etc.) If you are considering sending clothing, consider purchasing a WalMart gift certificate instead. This lets the Elder select the appropriate size and style and saves you the postage to ship the items to the reservation.

What kind of clothing is appropriate?

Items most needed include good winter coats, jackets, cotton or velvet fabric, cardigan sweaters (not dressy), jeans, heavy socks (tube type), snow boots, thermal underwear and sport-type shoes. The Elders dress very conservatively, so items such as shorts, halter tops, high heels, etc. are not appropriate.

What kinds of things would be offensive to an Elder?

Any religious items, imitation Indian artifacts or crafts, medicine bags, locks of hair, animal skins with fur. If you sent items that the Program has recommended, you won't have to worry.