Sub-Zero Temperatures, Few Resources
During the winter on Pine Ridge, temperatures often drop to 40 below zero. That means without adequate protection, frostbite can occur in as little as 5 minutes. Even indoors, hypothermia is a constant threat, especially for young children and the elderly.
But it's not just about lack of wood or propane. It's about poverty.
Hunger interferes with the body's ability to stay warm.
With over 80% unemployment, there are few resources. Parents on the reservation often have to make the choice between paying for heat and being about to buy food for their children. Throughout the winter months, we continually receive urgent requests for assistance. Calls come in daily from families and elders whose only source of heat is wood.
The Wood Program works in partnership with the Lakota to bring heat to families and elders and repairs and winterization for houses where it is most desperately needed. It also provides employment to an area where jobs are scarce. Through the program, Lakota men and women have a means to not only earn an income, but also a sustainable way to care for their people.
Thanks to your support, Lakota men and women have been cutting and splitting wood to prepare for upcoming community needs. With your help, they have also been able to construct a storage facility to maintain wood reserves, keeping the supply easily accessible and protected from harmful moisture.
Keeping Safe and Warm
To continue gathering wood for the long and cold winter months ahead, the wood program also needs funds for gas for delivery, tools such as chain saws, log splitters and safety equipment.
$150 provides enough wood to keep a family or elder warm for three weeks in really cold weather and helps the Lakota earn money for their families.
Your help keeps families and elders safe and warm this winter.
"The best accomplishment cannot be measured by money alone. The men have made a stand for their community and in a place where there are almost no chances of making a living, these men will earn a few dollars for their families in a good way."
John DuBray, Program Manager for eastern Pine Ridge