Keeping Food on the Table

   By Partnership

Food insecurity takes a toll on Elders on the reservations. One help is the Breakfast-in-a-Bag service from Northern Plains Reservation Aid® (NPRA), a Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA) program. This needed breakfast service ensures that Elders in rural communities have access to nutritious meals at no cost around the time when their social security checks have been depleted. All Stop grocery on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota offers our NPRA breakfast service, which includes eggs, sausage, bread, fruit and other healthy foods.

For homebound Elders, local volunteers deliver the breakfast groceries – this also brings much-needed social visits. Marvine, our Program Partner with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Elderly Nutrition Program, home-delivers the NPRA breakfast foods to 72-year-old Moran in Mission, South Dakota. Marvine enjoys interacting with the families she delivers to and says that Moran was “so happy to save a trip to the store because she is on a fixed income, and gas prices are too high.”

Moran never misses the chance to participate in Breakfast-in-a-Bag. She especially enjoys the potatoes and oatmeal and says she runs out of food quickly. “Money is a challenge to pay bills, and food is so expensive that I usually eat cereal and lunch meat. I’ll show you my freezer if you think I don’t struggle.” Moran pays $900 a month between her car payments, house bills and groceries. “A year ago, I spent $200 a month on food. Now it’s closer to $500.” Thankfully, she gets some help with her energy bills through the state’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Before the reservation was hit hard by COVID-19, Moran worked as a receptionist at Sinte Gleska University, but she was laid off during the pandemic. Even before the pandemic, Joint Economic Committee Democratic staff estimate that since 2007 the Native unemployment rate has averaged twice that of non-Hispanic white Americans.

Now Moran spends her days at home but does not like to sit still. “I like to be outdoors and in my garden. It’s hard but worth it. My grandkids help me plant things like corn and watermelon. Broccoli is my favorite.”

She lives alone and stays independent despite her many health challenges. “I don’t expect my kids to take care of me.”

To PWNA donors, Moran shares a big thank you. “Breakfast-in-a-Bag helps a lot of people. Some people struggle, especially toward the end of the month.”

PWNA and NPRA collaborate with Tribal partners and outside resources to improve food access in remote tribal communities. Your support to NPRA helps improve food security for Elders in need.