Cookin’ Up a Feast of Food and Friendship for Others

St. Joseph’s students from the Stevens and Speyer homes recently gave back to others in need, and learned a few new skills along the way!

“What in the world are you doing?!” hollered the Speyer Home boys at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Danyel, a daughter of the boys’ houseparent, paused to look up at them — her hand halfway inside a turkey.

“We’re stuffing the turkey!” she responded.

“We’re what?!” the boys said.

“This is how you cook stuffing,” laughed Danyel to the group of shocked faces.

Benny and Mersayis baste the turkey to make sure it stayed perfect for Dakota Milestones members.

It was just one of the many comical (and educational) scenes as boy students from the Speyer Home and girl students from the Stevens Home helped prepare a Thanksgiving meal for another organization in Chamberlain, S.D., called Dakota Milestones.

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we’re proud to be able to give Lakota (Sioux) students everything they need — from an education and food to medical care and clothing, and everything in-between.

But, what also warms our hearts is when our students want to model that giving behavior on their own … which is exactly what took place.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the two campus homes teamed-up to serve a meal to Dakota Milestones participants. Dakota Milestones is a corporation that provides services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Students received lessons about food preparation while they cooked the feast!

The students helped prepare the food and deliver it to the Dakota Milestones participants’ homes. They made turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, rolls, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, Mexican rice … the list goes on and on.

Angela, one of the houseparents aiding in the feast preparation along with Glenda and Evelyn, said making the festive dishes was a first for many of the students. They sliced, diced, mashed and put in a lot of work to make the meals special.

“It was a lot of work, but the kids just loved it,” Angela said.

Not only because the students learned new skills and dishes to prepare. Mostly, they loved the experience because when they arrived to drop-off the food to the participants’ homes, they were greeted with so many smiles, hugs and cheers.

“One of the men just smiled the whole time we were there. He clapped and clapped his hands and was so excited,” said Glenda. “Another just wanted to talk, talk, talk our ears off. They were so happy to have new company for a visit.”

That reaction made the day completely worth it.

Dakota Milestones members were elated to see St. Joseph’s students and houseparents and commented repeatedly how grateful they were to be on the receiving end of the kind gesture.

“Sometimes after a full day of cooking, you can get tired and start to wonder whether or not what you’re doing is going to be worth it,” said Angela. “But the kids pushed through and on the walk back to the car after we delivered the food to the two homes, they said ‘That was so worth it!’”

Which is why Evelyn, Glenda, Danyel and Angela hope to continue doing more service projects like this in the future and give more students small opportunities to make a difference … because clearly, they did.

Philámayayethank you — for supporting Lakota (Sioux) students at St. Joseph’s Indian School so they may grow up to be kind, caring and thoughtful individuals!

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.

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