The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced that it is selling gift cards for the Keya Cafe & Coffee Shop, the nonprofit organization’s farm-to-table, on-site social enterprise. Not only will the gift cards allow Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation community members to arrange — and gift — special meals for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday, they will provide a new way to support food security during the Covid-19 crisis.
The Keya Cafe & Coffee Shop suspended dine-in operations in mid-March as the novel coronavirus disease started to spread around the country. For six weeks, CRYP staff has been working hard to prepare and distribute takeout meals, including creative daily specials.
“Just as a kitchen is the heart of a home, our cafe is the beating heart of Cokata Wiconi, which in Lakota means ‘Center of Life,’” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “For years, our community has gathered here to enjoy homemade meals, nutritious produce from our garden, conversation, and fellowship. While we cannot dine the same way right now, we still can feed our friends and neighbors, and let them know that we are still here for them.”
Every meal and gift card purchase directly benefits CRYP’s ongoing mission in the community, allowing staff to continue limited programs and services for the duration of the crisis. And, supporters everywhere can help improve food security on Cheyenne River by contributing to the Keya Cafe gift card project.
“We’ve started a fund for the gift card project that will allow us to offer discounted and free meals,” Garreau explained. “Every customer can participate in a drawing and receive a percentage off his or her meal.”
The Keya Cafe & Coffee Shop isn’t the only social enterprise that is still active at CRYP. Shoppers also have access to the Keya Gift Shop through CRYP’s online store at lakotayouth.org/shop, with all proceeds benefiting CRYP directly. And, the youth project is still offering its popular monthly specials; through May 31, every piece of original artwork is 10 percent off.
“These aren’t easy times for any of us, but we’re doing our best to look forward, stay positive, and find creative solutions to the challenges facing us,” Garreau said. “CRYP has weathered many storms in its 30-plus years, and we’ll weather this one as well. Our kids and families rely on us. We’re part of their ‘normal,’ and we will be there for them no matter what.”
Those who wish to support CRYP’s Covid-19 programs and services can make online contributions by visiting lakotayouth.org/donate, and selecting “Covid-19 Relief Fund” or “Keya Cafe Gift Cards. Please call (605) 963-8200 for more information.
To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@lakotayouth and @waniyetuwowapi).
The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.