Within the past few weeks, thanks to the loyal and generous supporters of Running Strong for American Indian Youth, we were able to ship out 29 pallets of much-needed hygiene items to 16 of our partners throughout Indian Country, as well as to our field office on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Tipi Waste Un Zanipi (Wellness Through a Good Home).
The pallets, each weighing an average of 500 pounds, contained several gallons of hand sanitizer, hundreds of bars of soap, Smile Strong dental kits, thousands of diapers for growing families with infants and toddlers, and for our partners who requested them, hundreds of pairs of shoes.
Among those who received a pallet was the Rural Communities Initiative Foundation in Muldrow, Oklahoma, which is focused on helping Native families and enhancing opportunities for the younger generation of Cherokee youth to have a better future in its community which is comprised of 90 percent tribal members.
President Sammy Eagle noted that “A lot of families are in poverty status, this area is located 20 to 30 miles from the nearest town. Transportation is an issue for them so getting these resources to them is a big help.”
On the Navajo Nation where the coronavirus pandemic has hit especially hard, our partner Today We Follow-Tomorrow We Lead in Chinle, Arizona, was another which received a pallet of the hygiene items which are scarce on the reservation.
TWL-TWF helps children and families on the Navajo Nation with basic needs items such as food, shoes, clothing and more, and relies on Running Strong for most of those items, says President Anita Begay.
“The donated items are needed here on the reservation because most families receive assistance from the government in the form of food stamps or in a government check,” she told us. “The cash assistance and food stamps do not go far. The cash goes to paying bills.
“We personally know the children and families who are in need of donated items, and by this we can make the choice of who really needs them the most,” she added, noting that the community is very much in need of personal hygiene items.
And on the Yankton Indian Reservation in Lake Andes, South Dakota, our longtime partner, Faith Spotted Eagle, co-founder and executive director of the Brave Heart Society in April contacted us with an urgent request:
“Send as much hand sanitizer as you can…all is welcome. There is a shortage.”
And thanks once again to the supporters of Running Strong for American Indian Youth within a matter of days a shipment of 20 gallons of hand sanitizer and 312 bars of soap were on the way to the reservation.