Robert was appreciative of the large quantity of produce given to each household.
Each year, we sponsor produce distributions in up to ten communities on different reservations in the Northern Plains.
These distributions are an important part of getting fresh food into tribal communities. Nearly one in four (23%) Native American households experience low food security, meaning not enough food quality, variety, or desirability of dietary intake. Every day, accessing fresh food can be an issue on the reservations we serve, and nutrition-related diseases run high.
We are committed to increasing the capacity to address the issue of food insecurity on Indian reservations. Our Project Grow service has a couple of elements to help to accomplish this. Tilling gardens for community members is one way to get fresh food into homes and delivering Gaylord-sized pallets of fresh produce is another.
Our Program Partner, Karen, is a Health Educator with the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She was the host and coordinated the “on the ground logistics.” It was her responsibility to get the word out about the produce giveaway, as well as secure volunteers who could assist with the bagging and carrying the heavy bags to attendees’ vehicles. Since she works as a Health Educator and the Wellness Center is located right next to her offices, it was a perfect location to reinforce that health and nutrition go hand and hand.
Gabriella was one of the youngest volunteers at the Pine Ridge Produce distribution and came with her mother, Lolita.
Gabriella was one of the youngest volunteers at the Pine Ridge Produce distribution and came with her mother, Lolita. Gabriella was a 3rd grader and we were impressed with her work ethic and ability to jump in. She literally had to jump into the Gaylord-sized box to reach the corn-on-the-cob at the bottom. She gave up one of her last days of summer to help. We asked her why she would do this and she said it was, “to make friends… to be friendly.”
This young lady attends school in Pine Ridge. She enjoys math and basketball, plus likes to read stories and loves horses. Her summer plans have included play, doing art, and reading books. Her mother said she likes to get her involved in helping the community early on. They earned some special incentives for working the morning at the Health Education and Wellness center in Pine Ridge.
When we asked Tairan's dad how how he liked the smoothies, he said, "They're good!" He then took another for the road.
One of our stops took us to the Pine Ridge Reservation. Fortified with the specially-equipped Mobile Unit for Nutrition Training, we provided produce and worked with the South Dakota Extension office to offer healthy recipes and samples for community members to enjoy.
Another parent/daughter combo was Robert and his daughter, Tairan. Robert stopped by to get his two bags of produce, but they also checked out the Mobile Kitchen with the healthy samples of cantaloupe smoothies and herbed potatoes. Robert was appreciative of the large quantity of produce given to each household. There were a total of three in his home, but he added, “We feed everybody” that comes to the house.
If he had to purchase the items that he received, Robert thought that, “it would run about $36 to $40.” He was looking forward to making soup with the potatoes and zucchini, along with a little added “oregano” for flavor. He really enjoys making fruit pies. When asked how he liked the cantaloupe smoothies, he said, “They’re good!” He then took another one for the road.