SCAIR delivers holiday goods for urban Indians in need

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“Getting these food boxes means my family will have a meal over the holidays,” said Seqouia Salsa of Alpine. Her little 2-year-old son, Nathan, will enjoy a ham dinner on Christmas. Salsa was one of the recipients of SCAIR’s (Southern California American Indian Resource Center, Inc.) Howka program that distributed the holiday boxes at El Cajon’s Grocery Outlet Bargain Market on Dec. 21.

“Getting these food boxes means my family will have a meal over the holidays,” said Seqouia Salsa of Alpine. Her little 2-year-old son, Nathan, will enjoy a ham dinner on Christmas. Salsa was one of the recipients of SCAIR’s (Southern California American Indian Resource Center, Inc.) Howka program that distributed the holiday boxes at El Cajon’s Grocery Outlet Bargain Market on Dec. 21.

“This is our first Howka,” said SCAIR Executive Director Wanda Michaelis. “Howka is ‘hello’ in Kumeyaay.” SCAIR is a 501C(3) non-profit founded in 1997 by William H. Johnson II that focuses on providing services for the local urban Indians. 

“Howka is funded by the Northern California Indian Development Council,” said Kayla Hilario, also with SCAIR.

“We are providing 215 holiday boxes.  Our partners are Barona Resort & Casino and United Healthcare,” continued Hilaro. “Food boxes for Native Americans in San Diego County living off of the reservation.”

Distribution of holiday boxes was Dec. 21-22. SCAIR also provided food for Native American individuals or families before Thanksgiving.  The boxes contained hams, potatoes, butter, a Dutch Apple pie, fresh salad, apple cider, cream of mushroom soup, stuffing, corn, yams, marshmallows, dressing, rice and crispy onions. 

“It’s $50 worth of groceries in each box that serves up to five people. We bought all the groceries at Grocery Outlet.  The clients filled out a one-page form (to register)” said Hilario.

Sarah Hernandez, of Alpine noted, “This is a gift for the holidays.  It feeds the family. It brings the family together. Food is a part of our culture.  It will be all of this with fry bread.” 

Seqouia Salsa is a member of the Paiute tribe. Hilario is a member of the Miwok tribe. Per Hilario SCAIR services, “All tribes in North America, a lot of Kumeyaay, a lot from Arizona that live here. We serve at least two hundred clients on an annual basis.”

Hilario noted that the volunteers helping at the distribution site were from the Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association – TANF.  TANF stands for temporary assistance for needy families.

SCAIR delivers holiday goods for urban Indians in need