Staff Reflection: Feed Their Bellies and Your Soul

Dining Services staff at St. Joseph’s Indian School work hard preparing food boxes for students and families all across South Dakota in reservation communities.

Note: The following story was written by Maija, a Residential Support staff member at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Whether it’s around a table or being delivered to those in need, food brings people together. Food can be an expression of culture, a demonstration of love or the glue that gathers friends and family together.

The homes and school doors are closed but our hearts are open. Recently, Jackie and I had the opportunity to deliver food from St. Joseph’s Indian School to some of the most in-need people on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.

This is what we do. This is who we serve. And this is why we do it …

Some of our students live where there is no street sign, no numbers on the residence and no pavement. Those were the hardest to find, but we delivered to everyone on our list and more!

As we made our deliveries, we were able to see former students, our current students and their families (from a safe distance) and it was heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once. We miss being together. Being notorious huggers, it was very difficult not to give a hug or a handshake to those we met and spoke with. Kids and adults expressed their hopes and prayers for the fall. They talked about how they miss the staff, friends and activities at St. Joseph’s.

The families were so grateful for the food delivered and encouragement we shared. Food was bringing us together once again but in a very different way.

During our stops, it didn’t take long to see a group of kids from diapers to about nine, outside playing. Our minibus with “St. Joseph’s Indian School” blazed on the side caught their eyes as we pulled over. When asked if they wanted some milk and food, their eyes lit up and their heads bobbed! The eldest yelled “thank you” as they picked up the boxes we left for them. A father greeted us as we asked his children if they wanted some milk. We could see the smile on his face even though it was covered with a mask and his eyes were full of gratitude as he humbly waited for us to move away from the curb.

This is the stuff that feeds our soul. This is why we work at St. Joseph’s. This is why doing what Jesus tells us to do is so important.

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to reach out to someone in-need and maybe even make a food delivery …

Feed their bellies while you feed your soul. It’s definitely worthwhile.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

7 thoughts on “Staff Reflection: Feed Their Bellies and Your Soul”

  1. I LIKE VERY MUCH TO DONATE TO THESE INDIAN SCHOOLS, I, IN ADDITION, DONATE, TO NARF, NATIVE AMERICAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION. I HAVE PURCHASED INDIAN DOLLS FOR ALL MY LITTLE GREAT NIECES FROM MORNINGSTAR TRADING POST IN BREWSTER, NY, ROUTE 6. ALL THESE MAGNIFICENT DOLLS HAD A TAG WITH THE TRIBES NAME THAT MADE THESE DOLLS. I ATTEMPTED TO GET THESE DOLLS BACK AFTER THESE CHILDREN OUT GREW THEM TO DONATE TO INDIAN MUSEUMS IN MY AREA. EITHER THEY WERE LOST OR JUST COULD NOT BE FOUND. I HAVE ALSO PURCHASED BEAUTIFUL JEWELRY, OTHER GIFT ITEMS FROM THIS MORNINGSTAR. I AM NOW DONATING TO AT LEAST 6 DIFFERENT TRIBAL SCHOOLS, I AM IMPRESSED WITH THE THANK YOUS I RECEIVE VERY QUICKLY, MUCH MORE THAN I RECEIVE FROM MY OWN BLOOD FAMILY. I PUT IT THIS WAY, OBVIOUSLY THESE CHILDREN ARE BROUGHT UP WITH MANNERS, KNOW THE WORDS PLEASE AND THANK YOU, WE CALL IT ETIQUETTE, DOES NOT MATTER WHAT IT IS CALLED, THESE CHILDREN DO NOT TAKE EVERYTHING FOR GRANTED, SHOW RESPECT, GRATITUDE. I WILL CONTINUE TO DONATE AS FUNDS, MY HEALTH ALLOW TO PROVIDE FOR NATIVE AMERICANS TO OBTAIN EDUCATION REQUIRED TO ENABLE AN EXISTENCE HERE ON THIS EARTH IN HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT AS WELL AS TO MAINTAIN THEIR CULTURE WHICH SPANS MANY THOUSANDS OF YEARS. THANK YOU.

    1. Thank you for your interest in supporting our school, Edith. The following is the address you can use:
      St. Joseph’s Indian School
      1301 North Main Street
      Chamberlain, SD 57325

  2. I think the work you do for the school and the community is wonderful. I only wish I could do more but I am having trouble financially also. I am almost 73 years old and one of my life wishes was to teach school on a reservation and help children who are so much in need. Now I am not physically about to do much but wish I could. Sometimes life gets hard but God lets us go through the trials and tribulations to help us learn to trust Him. We all need to learn to rely on Him and His wisdom. Love and hugs to all the children and adults at the school and in the community.

  3. When I read stories like this it brings tears to my eyes.I am forever grateful for the work you do.May God continue to bless you all.

  4. I know what it means to be able to get food to needy people. I volunteer in a food pantry and I can feel the need in your area. Where I work they drive to us in their own cars! Just got your mail today will send a help this week soon as I go out to the mail drop. Nick. L

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