St. Joseph’s Indian School strives to provide a nurturing, supportive environment for Native American children from South Dakota reservations. We strongly believe education is a powerful tool for empowering our students and creating a brighter future. Additionally, we understand the importance of ensuring their well-being beyond the classroom, especially during the summer months when our students spend precious time with their families.
Food insecurity remains a pressing issue within many Native American communities, intensifying the challenges too many families face. To combat this issue and ensure our students and their families have access to nutritious meals during the summer, we continued our food box outreach program!
Thanks to the unwavering support from our thiyóšpaye — extended family — of supporters, we were able to continue this crucial program, now in its third year. The food box outreach provides essential provisions to Native American children and their families residing on South Dakota reservations.
This summer, St. Joseph’s made two trips and delivered 160 food boxes to our students and their families in nearby reservation communities. For families living in communities too far to travel (and thus possibly compromising the quality of the fresh food), they were provided grocery gift cards to help lessen the financial strain.
“Seeing the smiles on the kids’ and adults’ faces is the absolute greatest experience,” said Colton, the coordinator of this summer outreach program. “We’re told over and over again what a blessing we are when we make these trips. Families are so appreciative, and we’re happy to provide this service.”
A typical food box includes the following items. While we attempt to include as many fresh products as possible, it’s important to remember that not all homes have the proper electrical setups, making non-perishables more valuable:
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Peanut butter
- Canned sauces
- And much more!
But, the food boxes are not only filled with nutritious and essential groceries. They also bear the message of care and support from compassionate individuals who see a need and fill it!
Why? Because at St. Joe’s we understand the impact of food insecurity extends far beyond just missing meals. It affects the overall well-being and development of our students, hindering their ability to focus on their studies and fulfill their potential. Continued support from our friends alleviates this burden and ensures our students can return to school in the fall healthy and ready to learn.
The success of this food box outreach initiative is truly a testament to the power of collective kindness. Through steadfast commitment and donations, an impact was made — a big one! We are not just providing meals; we are nurturing hope, fostering resilience, and empowering families to thrive despite the challenges they face. Together, we are bringing hope and making a lasting difference in the lives of Native American children and their families.