The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced today that it is has just launched two Family Services programs to assist local Lakota families during the cold winter months. One offers vital matching funds for heating homes, and the other provides warm winter clothing.

The heat-match program, titled Okȟáta uŋ Ówičhakiyapi (Helping Them with Heat) will run from Monday, Jan. 17 to Thursday, Mar. 31. With the support of the Sparkjoy Foundation, CRYP is able to offer matching funds up to $100 for each family that currently holds a Family Services membership.

“Each family must bring cash or card payments to our office, and we’ll issue a receipt and purchase order,” advised Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “If you use electric heat, bring a copy of your Moreau Grand Electric billing statement so you also will be able to receive matching funds.” 

The CRYP staff works closely with local gas and electric companies to ensure that families receive assistance as soon as possible. Widow noted that it’s not too late for families who are not currently Family Services members to participate.

“All you need to do is join the program, either in person at our office or online at,” she said. “A one-time annual payment of $30 covers all family members for the entire year, and it includes monthly household and baby supplies as well as our large seasonal distributions.”

That includes this month’s winter coats distribution. From now until Friday, Jan. 28, CRYP staff will be taking requests for warm coats. 

“Simply call our office at (605) 964-8200 to place your request and make an appointment for pickup,” Widow said. “We encourage families to do this as soon as possible, as our supplies our limited, and we’ll be filling requests based on what we have available.” 

The nonprofit youth organization is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Family Services initiative this year. CRYP created this department in 2002 to manage the increasing amounts of donated supplies it was receiving to assist the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation’s families.

“Membership fees support our Family Services infrastructure and operations,” Widow said. “We know that one of the best ways we can support our kids is to offer a helping hand to their parents and care-givers, so we are committed to ensuring that Family Services remains a reliable, long-term resource in our community.” 

To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project is dedicated to giving our Lakota youth and families access to the culturally relevant, enriching, and enduring opportunities we need to build stronger, healthier communities and a more vibrant future together.