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Food on the Rez: Sparse and Poor Nutritional Value

11/1/16 in Pine Ridge & Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservations, South Dakota under Basic Needs Food


Basic Needs, Food




Pine Ridge & Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservations, South Dakota

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is about the size of Connecticut and has a population of roughly 40,000 people.

Grocery stores are few and far between, and fresh fruits or vegetables are even more limited.

For many Pine Ridge families, even if they have the ability to purchase groceries the money they have is spent on the gas it takes to get to the store and back.

To help hundreds of families get by during especially lean times on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Sioux Indian reservations Running Strong for American Indian Youth® ships a total of 7,500 boxes of frozen food annually.

Five times a year during the months of January, April, August, November and December, Running Strong provides 800 Pine Ridge families with a box of frozen food and another 700 boxes for families on Cheyenne River. In addition, 800 boxes of non-perishable food boxes are sent in June to families on Pine Ridge.

The frozen food boxes cost approximately $75 and contain more than 16 pounds of food. A typical box contains meatloaf, breaded chicken breast fillets and pieces, chicken patties, steak fries, sweet potato chunks, egg/sausage/cheese flatbreads, broccoli and cheese bites, and vegetables or fruit.

During the holiday season, we also want to ensure that these 1,500 families have a happy Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner by shipping 800 turkeys to Pine Ridge and 700 to Cheyenne River, with all the trimmings to go along of course, during the months of November and December.

Through the generosity of Running Strong supporters over the years, American Indian families have been able to get the extra assistance they need to be able to put food on the dinner table for their children. And since 1988, two years after our founding in 1986 hundreds of Native Americans families have been able to count on us for that once-a-year special holiday dinner.

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