Northern Plains Reservation Aid (formerly American Indian Relief Council)
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Baby Baskets
AIRC Re-stocking Shelves

AIRC provides a basket of baby-care essentials for every new mom at the Pine Ridge Hospital.

Almost every day, a baby is born into the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.  Like babies everywhere, they are welcomed with joy and hope for the future.  "It is strictly believed and understood by the Sioux that a child is the greatest gift from Wakan Tanka [the Creator]," says R. High Eagle. 

Yet on the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of the poorest communities in America, these little ones may already be off to a difficult start in life.  Many mothers-to-be here face high-risk pregnancies, due to poor diets and Third World living conditions on the reservation.  Sadly, these young women who are most in need of pre-natal care may also face great obstacles to visiting a doctor.

Lack of basic transportation makes it extremely difficult to travel to a health clinic.  Once there, patients may wait hours for an appointment.  After the baby arrives, many parents can hardly afford even the most basic infant-care items.

AIRC Baby Baskets

Adrianna put the AIRC baby basket to use for her daughter Desirae.

Read this mother's story

A Healthy Start
To help these struggling young families, AIRC provides a basket of essential supplies for every new mom as she leaves Pine Ridge Hospital.  The tribe's Healthy Start program also delivers AIRC baskets for babies born off the reservation.

The baskets include necessities such as clothing, blankets, bottles, diapers, bath supplies, and skin ointments.  Many of these items are expensive or impossible to find on Pine Ridge.  Mothers, who typically devote all their meager resources to their children, also receive a few gifts for themselves such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and lotion.

AIRC Baby Baskets

New parents can earn additional gifts for their babies by participating in pre-natal care and parenting classes.

Powerful Results
To help new parents keep their families healthy, AIRC offers a larger incentive to those who participate in various Healthy Start programs.  Any mom who attends five activities — such as doctor's visits, child development and parenting classes, or nutrition programs — can earn a portable playpen/crib for her baby.

Some of these sessions take place at local schools or in the home, which makes them more accessible to every new parent.  Through the baby baskets and playpen incentives, AIRC is helping the Oglala Sioux bring healthier babies and happier families into the world.

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