(CNN)People in Ireland inspired by an act of generosity committed more than 170 years ago are paying it forward.
In 1847, the Choctaw people collected $170 to send to people in Ireland who were starving during the potato famine.
The struggles experienced by the Irish were familiar to the tribal nation: Just 16 years earlier, the Choctaw people had embarked on the Trail of Tears and lost thousands of their own to starvation and disease.
Now, donations are pouring in from people across Ireland for a GoFundMe campaign set up to support the Navajo Nation and Hopi reservation during the coronavirus pandemic.
"From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned!" a message from one donor reads. "To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship."
Irish have donated about half a million, organizer says
The donations from Ireland seem to have started after The Irish Times journalist Naomi O'Leary shared the Navajo and Hopi fundraiser on Twitter, garnering thousands of likes and retweets.
"Native Americans raised a huge amount in famine relief for Ireland at a time when they had very little," O'Leary wrote on Saturday. "It's time for is [sic] to come through for them now."
Ethel Branch, the fundraiser's organizer, estimated on Tuesday that Irish people had donated about half a million dollars to the relief efforts so far, which goes toward food, water and other necessary supplies for Navajo and Hopi communities.
The campaign had raised more than $2 million, as of Tuesday evening.
"It's very unexpected, but it's just incredible to see the solidarity and to see how much people who are so far away care about our community and have sympathy for what we're experiencing," Branch told CNN.
The Navajo Nation has seen more than 2,400 confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 70 deaths, the tribal nation announced on Monday. The Hopi reservation, which is surrounded entirely by the Navajo Nation, has reported 52 positive cases.
The gift was an act of solidarity
In 1845, a fungus devastated Ireland's potato crop, which the Irish depended on for food. The Irish potato famine would go on to cause widespread starvation and disease, kil