“We took this action because… we know the families out in the districts need this help now!” – Ken Lone Elk
“From my family and the Lakota Nation – we thank all of you!” – Ken Lone Elk
First came the frigid, sub-zero temperatures and blizzards bearing foot-deep snow and bone-chilling winds – not unusual for a winter on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on the Great Plains of South Dakota.
But then the warmer temperatures brought severe flooding, making roads impassable and cutting off families from the food and other supplies they need.
Soon after, a water line pipe that serves Pine Ridge residents broke, leaving thousands without access to safe water for drinking, cooking, washing and bathing.
Running Strong field staffer Ken Lone Elk reported earlier this month that he sat down with his son and daughter to contemplate their plight, and the plight of their extended family and Lakota community.
“We went over what we just went through, the blizzard with 50-60 mph winds, the melting of the snow, the rain we received – it felt like we were given all our health medicine all in one shot by Mother Nature!
“I thought about this ‘super-storm’ we were hit with, how none of us were prepared for this.”
However, with the flood waters receding, it is no longer time to ponder, but for Ken and Running Strong field staff and volunteers to take action.
“Now that our road and area in front of our field office and warehouse is dry, we are setting up a system for the nine District Service Centers, in conjunction with their Oglala Sioux Tribe representatives, to deliver food boxes to families who are stranded in their homes due to their roads being wiped out by the snow and rain we received last week.”