Festival of Trees slated for Saturday in Fort Defiance

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, Dec. 12, 2013

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Wouldn't it be nice to know that a dollar you spent will benefit victims of domestic violence?

The staff Good Shepherd Mission and the Hummingbird Gallery & Internet Canteen in Fort Defiance will offer this opportunity through its first Christmas Festival of Trees on Dec. 14 in which the proceeds will be donated to help victims of domestic violence.

Evonne Tapahe, manager of the Hummingbird Gallery & Internet Canteen, said the festival of trees will allow local businesses and organizations to sponsor a tree and decorate so that it can be raffled off.

"Any kind of coordinated effort is beneficial for these people because there is always going to be an unmet need when you serve oppressed populations," said Shirley McKinley, a senior social worker at the Navajo Nation Division of Social Services.

Those who end up going to the Good Shepherd Mission for help are typically those referred by McKinley after she has told the victim that the yearly grant funds have already been spent helping other victims.

"It's always good to have this kind of funding for these people," McKinley said because it helps domestic violence victims with the miscellaneous costs needed to move on to a better place.

Of assisting those in need, Good Shepherd Mission's accountant and staff manager Vivian Tapahe said, "It's important because their need is immediate and being a church setting it's so hard to turn people away because you don't have enough money." Tapahe said the church receives a referral at least once a week and on average, they are only able to provide the individual with $20 to $30.

In addition to helping victims of domestic violence, Vivian said she hopes the festival of trees will help to rebuild its congregation.

"A lot of people don't know the church is here, it'll make people aware that the church is still here and we're still trying to help people," Vivian said of the event, adding that "it's going to help bring the community together." At the event, there will have a raffle for the trees, Vivian said, adding that so far they have nearly 10 trees sponsored from various small businesses on the Navajo Nation.

The event will be held on the Good Shepherd Mission grounds in the parking lot in Fort Defiance, behind the post office.

Tickets for tree drawing are $1 for one or $5 for six.

There will also be fresh cut trees for sale and an arts and crafts sale.

For information: Evonne, 928-729-5761 or Vivian, 928-729-2322.

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