At Running Strong for American Indian Youth®, as we have for decades, we strive to help families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation keep warm in their homes during the coldest days of winter.
Through our Heat Match program, in years past, we have matched dollar-for-dollar up to $100 (for a total of $200) enabling families to meet the minimum charge required to have a propane tank come to their homes to fill their tanks.
This year, with the rising cost of propane, we have increased the Heat Match from $100 to $200. That means when a family arrives at Tipi Waste Un Zanipi (Wellness Through a Good Home), our field office on the reservation, with a money order for $100 we will match it with $200 for a total of $300 that will be credited to the local propane company for delivery to their homes.
In addition, through a generous partnership with Cerner Government Services, we are again this year continuing our Veteran’s Heat Match program specifically for those who have served in our nation’s military service with pride and honor.
In total, our goal this year is to provide matching funds to at least 600 families, along with an additional 68 veterans’ families.
Our field coordinator, Dave Lone Elk, coming off a busy holiday season distributing Christmas presents for Pine Ridge children and boxes of food for festive family meals, is back at the office administering the Heat Match program which began on Monday, January 3.
To our supporters who help make it happen, Dave says: “Hello my friends! We’ve successfully made it through another holiday season and into the new year!
“We’ve had the chance to give many things out to our people such as winter jackets, blankets and Christmas toys but our work doesn’t stop there — no it most certainly does not!
“We look forward to heating homes during these next couple of months.
“As the buffalo of the plains shake off the snow so shall we! Stay safe my friends and Wopila (thank you) for all that you do!”
On January 5, the weather on Pine Ridge was -2 degrees and predicted to drop to -14 degrees overnight. A wind chill advisory had also been issued for the reservation and with winds gusting up to 20 mph meaning residents there were experiencing wind chills as low as 35 degrees below zero!
“The dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” noted the National Weather Service.
At Running Strong, we don’t want to have to turn away any family in desperate need of assistance heating their home in these days of life-threatening bitter cold that is likely to persist for days, even weeks, to come.