Warmth for the Elders

When it comes time to pay bills, families may have to make difficult financial decisions to stay warm during the long and cold winters of the Northern Plains. One way that Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA) offers support to Tribal communities is through the Firewood service of our Sioux Nation Relief Fund (SNRF) program, where a cord of wood is distributed to each Elder. This year, our Program Partner Roberta in Montana used the Firewood service for people like 60-year-old Michael, who lives in Birney – a town home to around 120 people. Winters are cold and snowy in Birney, with temperatures often dropping below zero degrees. Michael shared, “We just had a cold snap, and [the wood] really helped warm up the house.”

Warmth for the Elders

Native American households make $25,000 a year less than non-Hispanic White households. When it comes time to pay bills, families may have to make difficult financial decisions to stay warm during the long and cold winters of the Northern Plains. One way that Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA) offers support to Tribal communities is through the Firewood service of our Sioux Nation Relief Fund (SNRF) program, where a cord of wood is distributed to each Elder household.

This year, our Program Partner Roberta in Montana used the Firewood service for people like 60-year-old Michael, who lives in Birney – a town home to around 120 people. Winters are cold and snowy in Birney, with temperatures often dropping below zero degrees. Michael shared, “We just had a cold snap, and [the wood] really helped warm up the house. I have to work hard to keep the house warm and keep the ashes out of the stove.” Michael told us that the cord of wood lasted one month and helped cut down on his electric bill, which can reach $300 in winter.

Michael appreciated that the donated wood was already split and said he’d cut his own lumber if he had a saw. He added, “I can’t buy firewood around here.” With few resources in Birney, Michael has to leave town to buy anything. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a car, and the closest store is nearly 30 miles away.

Michael once had a career in building fences but doesn’t work anymore due to health problems. Fortunately, he gets assistance with his energy bill from the federally funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

To SNRF donors whose generosity brought warmth to his home and his heart, Michael shared, “I thank them a lot; that’s a lot of help on my part.” Donate to SNRF to help Elders keep warm during freezing and often unpredictable weather.

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