With the holidays over, families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are hunkering down in their homes trying to stay warm on the cold winter days. For hundreds of families, keeping warm can be a challenge when bills must be paid – including the minimum $175 necessary to have a propane truck come to their home and fill up their tank.
The Heat Match program was started by Running Strong in 1997, matching dollar for dollar up to $100 as a way to help ensure Native families on Pine Ridge aren’t forced to choose between putting food on the table or staying warm inside their homes.
Since, Running Strong has provided more than $1.7 million in funding to help families stay warm; last year nearly 1,000 families were assisted.
“That’s a lot of heat,” commented Running Strong Field Coordinator Dave Lone Elk who runs the program.
This year, the Heat Match program begins on January 8 and Dave knows he will have a line outside the door of his office that morning. He has the headquarters offices open all day to serve as many reservation residents as possible through the program.
The program runs into March, or until funds run out. Providing hundreds of families with $100 is not an inexpensive proposition, but a necessary one.
If you’d like to help provide heat to Native families this winter, please click here.