In collaboration with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will be distributing free food and household items to families on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in early November. Members of CRYP’s Family Services program will be served on Thursday, Nov. 9, and then the nonprofit youth project will open the distribution to the general public on Nov. 10.
Each box will contain a variety of items, such as a whole turkey; ground beef, beef roast, and sliced ham; eggs; canned green beans, corn, spaghetti sauce, and pork-and-beans; instant potatoes, spaghetti noodles, stuffing mix, and rice; fresh carrots and onions; canned pumpkin and cranberry sauce; cheddar cheese; white flour; brown, granulated, and powdered sugar; vegetable oil; butter; salt, black pepper, and cinnamon; hot cocoa, and powdered milk. Household items will include plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, the Church of Jesus Christ has become an important partner for the youth project. Their collaboration provided approximately 75,000 pounds of food for the local community in early 2022, and their food distribution last fall (pictured above) served 300 families on the Cheyenne River reservation.
“We are so grateful to the Church of Jesus Christ for all their support,” Garreau said. “Their hard work and generosity allow us to give our families everything they need to create hearty, delicious, seasonal meals that will bring generations together.
“We’re approaching the sacred winter solstice, so for us as Lakota people, it’s the season for going inward to enjoy warmth, nourishment, and the richness of our tiospaye (extended family),” she continued. “Many of our Cheyenne River families don’t have room in their budgets for these types of food purchases, and too often, they must go without. A food distribution like this means they will be able to enjoy this special time of year just like families all across America.”
In the last four years, the Church of Jesus Christ has restructured its humanitarian department to better localize its efforts, according to Kimberly Austin, who works in field operations. As she explained, the church wants to “find the CRYPs of the world” and partner with established nonprofit organizations that are already experiencing success in their communities.
At its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ operates a large central storehouse. Food arrives here from church farms throughout North America, each of which produces crops or livestock that thrive that particular climate. After processing, the food is shipped to nonprofit organizations across the continent.
“We want to try to help our neighbors who are doing really good things,” Austin said in a 2022 interview. “Our belief is all about finding and serving the one; every human is precious and worthy of love and a chance to succeed.
“This is exactly what CRYP does,” she added. “It embraces the one, which ultimately will affect generations and nations. I’m so blessed and grateful to build a lifelong friendship with Julie and the staff at CRYP.”
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 www.lakotayouth.org. 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, 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.