Food For Elders

1 in 6 seniors in America faces the threat of hunger or malnourishment, and the problem is worse for Native American Elders who often live in places with limited options for healthy food. Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA) supports Program Partners with food and water services year-round, such as the Produce service of our Native American Aid® (NAA) program. 91-year-old Erma recently got a generous bag of fresh produce through our Program Partner in Martin, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Erma lives alone and has multiple health issues, but she works in her garden to supplement her diet. 

Food for the Elders 

1 in 6 seniors in America faces the threat of hunger or malnourishment, and the problem is worse for Native American Elders who often live in places with limited options for healthy food. We support our Program Partners with food and water services year-round, such as the Produce service of Native American Aid® (NAA), a program of Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA). 

With help from the Bank of America and NAA, our Program Partner Paula L. recently organized a major produce distribution for the Martin, South Dakota community on the Pine Ridge Reservation. 1 in 4 Native Americans lives in a food-insecure household. 

Volunteers delivered generous bags of produce to the Bennett County Senior Citizens Center, where 91-year-old Erma often eats. She wanted donors to know that “it’s hard to keep enough food on the table,” and she appreciated the sweet corn most. “I’ve wanted it for a while. I’m also excited to have a bowl of tomatoes to myself.”  

Erma loves gardening and grows some of her own food. This has become more important lately, as groceries are more expensive. Erma knows what it’s like to be food insecure. She shared, “When I was raising six kids, we never had anything given to us, and we had a hard time feeding everyone. It’s nice to have the produce even though I couldn’t stand in line.”  

Erma lives with multiple health issues. Her daughter helps occasionally, but Erma lives alone on her parents’ homestead in Nebraska, five miles from the reservation border. Her parents were Cherokee but decades ago didn’t tell anyone their heritage as it was illegal for Native Americans to own land at the time.  

Erma spent her life teaching children. She graduated high school in 1949 and began teaching in Nebraska. She finally got her teaching certificate in 1969, moving to the elementary school in Martin for 19 years. She told us, “I took kids who were failing and taught them to succeed. I can teach anybody anything if they want to learn.” 

PWNA and its NAA program help offset food insecurity. Please donate to NAA for Erma and other Elders who need your support. 

 

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