Shirley helps serve the hot and cold meals that are offered throughout the day.
Shirley works behind the deli counter at Buches, a local store on the Rosebud Reservation. She helps serve the hot and cold meals that are offered throughout the day. Made-to-order meals are available, as well as ready-to-eat options.
Recently, we enlisted Shirley and several other Buches’ staff members to help recruit a few Elders who might be able to meet with us. We wanted to have lunch with them and talk about their experience with the Northern Plains Reservation Aid (NPRA) program’s Breakfast-in-a-Bag service. Unfortunately, many of the people getting lunch that day didn’t have time to sit down to eat, but instead took it to go. Everyone seemed to be in a rush.
One Elder at the checkout register had a hard time turning down lunch and the opportunity to speak with us, but said, “My son drove me and he has a doctor’s appointment — maybe next time!” The vast majority of the Breakfast-in-a-Bag recipients received their food earlier in the week, so it looked like we would be out of luck on this day.
Eventually, Shirley stopped by at one of the table booths where we sat ready to interview Elders. She wanted to check and see if anyone had stopped by to talk as yet. Once she heard that not one single Elder was available, she ran back to the deli, took off her apron, and sat down with us.
Shirley works at Buches, but she is also a Breakfast-in-the-Bag recipient. She turned 62 this past May, making this her first year of eligibility for the food service. She is one of 119 Elders this year who are new to the program! Twenty percent (20%) of the eligible participants are new. She is also in the age group with the largest number of participants: 290 or 50% of the participants are between the ages of 62-69 years old.
"I use everything that I get,” said Shirley who is currently raising two high school students.
“It helps out a lot,” Shirley said. She continued with, “I get the stew meat, instead of the ground beef. I use everything that I get.” Shirley is currently raising two high school students. Both are graduating this year. One is 21 years old and has Downs Syndrome. The other is the youngest of her children, at 19 years old. She is finishing high school and will walk across the stage to receive her diploma this year. She wants to go to college and pursue a career in law enforcement.
Shirley really encouraged getting an education with her children. Unable to finish high school herself, she obtained her GED in 1975, so she knew how important an education was to their futures. She has worked in the service business as long as she can remember. She was a cook’s aide at St. Francis and a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). Her part time job at Buches from 11am-2pm gives her a few extra work hours each day. She enjoys what she is doing.
We appreciated that Shirley took time from her busy schedule to visit with us. As quickly as she removed her apron earlier, she swiftly walked back behind the counter, donned her apron, and began serving customers with a smile.
Our heart-felt thanks also go out to the Program Partners and generous donors who make this service possible.