Since the Navajo Nation announced a shelter in place order March 20, Boucher and the foundation have been making food deliveries to a food pantry on the reservation to ensure that those in quarantine or far away from grocery stores had access to food.
But the Navajo Nation extends into three states - New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah - with several other reservations in the area as well. And local food pantry rules limited Boucher to delivering food within McKinley County, New Mexico.
"The (Navajo) reservation itself is about the size of West Virginia, and there is maybe a total of five grocery stores on the reservation, and most of those grocery stores are close to border towns," Boucher said.
"And so Gallup (county seat of McKinley County) is really the central town for most people living on the reservation. So people sometimes drive two, two and a half, three hours to come into town to get supplies. And right now, they're facing a situation where, if they're home-bound under quarantine for 14 days, it's really difficult to have someone come into town for you and get a bunch of stuff with all of the limitations that are happening at the grocery stores," he said.
"So if you're not able to make it, you've got to send someone for you, but then there's no guarantee that, when you come into town, you're going to be able to find what you need, because the stores are wiped out," he added.
To expand the relief efforts, Boucher teamed up with Patrick Mason, a member of the Osage Tribe and the Knights of Columbus board of directors, to bring food to more people.
"We knew just from living out here - I was born and raised here - the need is out there," Mason told CNA. "Whenever something like this hits, whenever an epidemic or pandemic hit, a lot of times it's just devastating."
Besides direct deaths from illnesses, Mason said, ancillary suffering and deaths typically occur in such crises. Many elderly people on the reservation live in simple, traditional hogans and lack running water and electricity and the ability to get themselves supplies.
They rely on family and friends to look out for them, but they're often the first people forgotten in a crisis, Mason noted. "Not intentionally, it's just, people are concerned, and they forget to go check on so-and-so. A lot of times they end up suffering in a myriad of ways," he said.
When Mason heard Boucher needed help, he worked with the Knights of Columbus as well as Life is Sacred, a Native American pro-life organization, to organize and deliver food baskets to the Acoma people, a Pueblo tribe 90 miles away that includes Sky City village, the oldest continuously inhabited place in the United States.
They also consulted Lance Tanner, one of the owners of T and R Market (a family-run grocery store that primarily serves Navajo clientele), for the food baskets.
Tanner, also a member of the Knights of Columbus, knew what staples his customers would like in a food basket, including flour, lard, potatoes, coffee, and spam, as well as toiletries and water; and treats like Crackerjacks and Kool-Aid for the kids.
Once assembled, Mason said the baskets - which were actually three large boxes - contained enough food to feed a family for about two weeks.
"I had a trailer (from the Knights of Columbus) and we called it the COVID-19 Relief Canteen," Mason said. They made their first delivery during Holy Week.
"Our first delivery went to the Acoma people, which is one of the old Pueblo tribes. Those are Catholic tribes. They've been Catholic for hundreds of years," he said.
"They have some churches there that are hundreds of years old, and they're very faithful Catholic people. They were suffering, and they said that they had about 140 people that were in desperate need of food, so we did our first delivery there," Mason said.
When they arrived, they were told by the local volunteers that 60 more people had called in that day looking for food.