ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, Running Strong for American Indian Youth delivered 44,200 pounds of shelf stable food to Running Strong’s field office Tipi Waste Un Zanipi (Wellness Through A Good Home) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The special delivery was an act of COVID-19 relief for 1,700 families, and was preceeded by a similar delivery of 30,600 lbs of frozen food to the Eagle Butte Food Pantry on Cheyenne River Indian Reservation just a couple weeks prior.  

Food insecurity is a prevalent issue in remote rural communities, and Native American reservations face especially taxing conditions as tribal authorities take measures to fight the spread of illness during the coronavirus crisis. Many have restricted travel beyond the reservation, and limited trips to already-scarce grocery stores. 

“It’s a scary time out here on the plains because our resources are an hour away in each direction,” said Dave Lone Elk, Running Strong’s Field Coordinator. “Groceries are hard to come by too. I think this shipment is going to make a big difference in helping people get through the next couple months.” 

Each of the 1,700 food boxes delivered to Tipi Waste this week contain 26 pounds of shelf stable fruit, vegetables, protein and grains. The 1,700 boxes for Cheyenne River contained 20 pounds of frozen protein and grains. One box is designed to feed two meals a day for a family of four for two weeks, and all boxes will be distributed from Tipi Waste and the Eagle Butte Food Pantry in their entirety by utilizing a contactless driveup/drivethrough system. The delivery was made by a specialized transportation service to ensure as few points of contact as possible during the route and were approved by tribal authorities to be delivered straight to the warehouse and distributed after a mandatory two-day disinfecting period.  

In response to community need on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Running Strong built Tipi Waste Un Zanipi in 1997. This was followed by a 1,280 sq. foot addition in 2017 in addition to a loading dock. Tipi Waste Un Zanipi is also the distribution hub for the annual Heat Match, annual winter clothes distribution, the headquarters for Running Strong water connections, and more seasonal programs. 

In response to community need on Cheyenne River, Running Strong built the Eagle Butte Food Pantry in 1996. This was followed by a 1,260 sq. foot addition in 2003, and the donation of a brand new walk-in freezer in 2010. Running Strong also maintains the forklift, pallet jacks, and six food shipments to the Food Pantry each year. To date, Running Strong has sent 35,700 food boxes to the Eagle Butte Food Pantry, totaling over 680,000 lbs. of food for the Cheyenne River community.

Running Strong for American Indian Youth works to help Native American communities with immediate survival needs. To learn more about our programs visit the Running Strong site at or contact 

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