Families on the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Indian reservations in South Dakota are looking forward to what has been a tradition for many years – receiving a turkey and food box at holiday time.

This year 952 frozen turkeys and 1,000 food boxes will be delivered to our field office on Pine Ridge, Tipi Waste Un Zanipi (Wellness Through a Good Home) where our field coordinator Dave Lone Elk will see to it that the turkeys and food boxes are distributed in an orderly fashion.

On the Cheyenne River reservation 752 turkeys and 700 food boxes will be distributed to families there.


Winter is the hardest time of the year for Native families on the reservations on the Great Plains where wind chill factors can drop down into the negative double digits as they try to stay warm in their drafty mobile homes and conserve the propane in their tanks.

In addition to the turkeys, the food boxes contain chicken nuggets, scalloped potatoes, frozen squash and kale and even cake for dessert – enough food to feed a family of four for at least a week.

Dave noted that in recent years the turkeys and food boxes have been distributed throughout all nine districts of the Pine Ridge reservation (one of the largest in the nation, larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined) as district representatives volunteer to drive their trucks and take the turkeys and food boxes back to the people in their communities.

“It was nice to get a turkey from Running Strong out here in the Red Shirt community,” said Gerald Two Bulls. “Often times we are forgotten about because we are so far from other communities but we were able to have a great dinner.”

For those who live nearby Tipi Waste and pick up the turkeys and food boxes themselves, it can sometimes mean standing out in the gravel parking lot on the most frigid of days while the line moves slowly but steadily.

Each turkey and food box costs $50.00 and with your help we can reach our goal of not having to turn a single family away empty handed.

The holiday season is upon us, please help us feed one more family with your gift of $50.00, or whatever amount you can spare.

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