This spring, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® announced our new partnership with Feeding South Dakota to greatly expand our food pantry services at our field office, Tipi Waste Un Zanipi (Wellness Through a Good Home), available for residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
For decades, Running Strong has helped Pine Ridge families and elders supplement their meager food budgets by regularly throughout the year shipping thousands of boxes (most recently 6,000 annually) of nonperishable and/or frozen food items to Tipi Waste where our field staff distributes them to those in need.
And over the years, our staff has become a well-oiled machine both pre-COVID-19, and now during the current pandemic, where the 20-pound boxes (enough to feed a family of four for a week or more) are carried out to families waiting in line in their vehicles.
Going forward, each month we will be distributing 1,500 boxes (18,000 annually!) of dry food items such as rice, pasta and beans, frozen meats and even locally grown fresh produce which represents a three-fold increase of our distribution capacity of prior years.
In order to provide food boxes to those who live in the far most reaches of the vast reservation – nearly 3,500 square miles covering more than 2.8 million acres, and the second-largest reservation in the U.S., making it larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined – we are working with representatives in all nine districts to have them pick up boxes by the truckload to distribute to those in their communities.
The food boxes cost about $15 each, a much lower price than even the savviest shopper could get even at a discount grocery or big-box store.