Northern Plains Reservation Aid (formerly American Indian Relief Council)
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AIRC Breakfast - Mabel displays flag

Mabel, an AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag recipient, displays the U.S. flag in honor of four family members who have served in the military.

Meet Mabel and her family

On South Dakota’s rural and remote Rosebud Reservation, most Elders live at or below the poverty line. Many are homebound, because of illness or because they have no means of transportation. Facing obstacles such as these, many Elders often struggle to obtain enough food to get through the month.

Nutritious food and regular meals are especially important for those with diabetes, which is prevalent among older Native Americans.  The AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag service ensures that Elders age 62 and over can start each day with a healthy meal at home.  AIRC also assists Elder Nutrition Centers, which provide free hot lunches in many communities, through the AIRC Food service.

Healthy Choices
Once a month, Elders can use AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag vouchers at reservation grocery stores to choose selected healthy items at no cost. The stores post signs indicating the products available through the service, which may include eggs, sausage, bread, cereal, milk, and fruit.

Genevieve, a volunteer, has been delivering Breakfast-in-a-Bag items for many years.

Genevieve, a volunteer, has been
delivering AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag packages to homebound Elders for many years.

For homebound Elders, local volunteers deliver the groceries through much-needed social visits. These caring tribe members often drive long distances over poorly maintained roads during inclement weather to reach the homes of the Elders. Many of the homes are spread out over a large area, so it may take an entire day to reach each recipient.

Elders sign up for the AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag service in January to receive groceries from February through October. The AIRC Thanksgiving and AIRC Christmas services offer special holiday fare in November and December.

Together, these services provide support and encouragement to communities that are working hard to care for their Elders.   

The grocery store in Mission, South Dakota, labels the wholesome foods available to Elders through the AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag program.

How can I help?

Here are a few examples of how the AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag program touches the lives of Lakota Elders on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

“Right now the Breakfast-in-a-Bag that I have been receiving is nutritious foods. A lot of Elders do not get the proper foods they need. At least they get nutritious foods through Breakfast-in-a-Bag. It is an excellent program!”

—B. Bordeaux of Rosebud

[Without the AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag service] “I will stand in soup lines in Mission or Rosebud.”

—J. Yellow of O'kreek

"Some of our Elders live on fixed incomes. After all of their living expenses are taken care of, they don't have very much left over for groceries, so the Breakfast-in-a-Bag program comes in handy...I've heard and learned about it through my relatives. Thank you for your help."

—L. Crow Dog of Grass Mountain Community

[Without the AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag service] “I would miss it very much, and I wouldn’t have the good variety. I also have diabetes, and my husband does much cooking for me as I’m almost blind, so it really does help.”

—L. Swanson of Antelope

[Without the AIRC Breakfast-in-a-Bag service] “I wouldn’t get the food items I really need to eat to maintain my diabetes.”

—B. Thin Elk of Swift Bear

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