In January, temperatures on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation can get unbearably low. Recently, the temperature dropped to -18 degrees (not including the wind chill factor.)
But when families have to eat, Pine Ridge field coordinator Dave Lone Elk and his dad, Ken, work tirelessly to ensure the distribution of food boxes to their fellow Ogala Sioux Tribe members - regardless of the temperature outside.
At nearly 3,500 square miles, Pine Ridge is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined and with only one full-time field staff member it would be an impossible task for a single person to serve the population in all nine districts on the reservation.
But thankfully there are people like Jerome, Theresa and Eddie Poor Bear of the Wanbli District about 60 miles from the Running Strong headquarters in Porcupine who were out on a cold January day volunteering to pick up food boxes for those in their community.
In addition to the Poor Bear family, Running Strong has about 25 other volunteers in the other districts including three each in Lacreek, Pass Creek, Pine Ridge, Wakpamni, Oglala, Wanblee, and four in Porcupine and six in Kyle.
“I am extremely grateful to them for their commitment to their districts,” commented Ken.
We couldn’t do what we do without volunteers such as Jerome, Theresa, Eddie and all the others – Wopila! (Thank you! in Lakota)