A Community Staple

   By Partnership

The Native American Aid (NAA) program of Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA) ensures monthly deliveries of staple foods through the Food Pantry service to help offset food insecurity. Program Partner Randy H. operates a food pantry on the Standing Rock Reservation in Selfridge, North Dakota. He serves about 200 people every month, including Karmen L. and her seven children. Karmen is a single mom and has no transportation, so she’s grateful to get the pantry’s help and says many would struggle without it. 

A Community Staple 

Last year, 3 out of 4 Native American families lived without enough access to healthy food. Through a Partnership With Native Americans® (PWNA) program, Native American Aid (NAA), and its Food Pantry service, our Program Partners receive monthly food deliveries to help families in need.  

The Assembly of God Church in Selfridge, North Dakota, on the Standing Rock Reservation, participates in our Food Pantry service. They served 39 households last month, adding up to about 200 people. “We can’t meet every need, but we won’t turn people away who ask for food,” said Program Partner Randy H., who runs the food pantry with his wife Hazel. 

The couple opened the church four years ago and realized the food needs in the community. Randy shared, “We found out that most people here use food commodities [or SNAP benefits], but they run out of food at the end of the month. We give them hopefully enough food to fill the gap. It’s really good, canned food and foods that are easy to fix.” Randy and Hazel also set out snacks for the local kids so that they can help anyone who comes along. 

Three years ago, Karmen L. moved her family to Selfridge from Bismarck, North Dakota. “The price of everything was going up, and I couldn’t afford to live there,” she told us. A single mom, she got a job at the Tribal daycare in Selfridge and started getting help from the food pantry. “I was like, ‘Oh thank goodness, they’re distributing food.”  

The pantry’s monthly offerings help Karmen feed seven children, ranging in age from 5 to 16 years old. All of the children are enrolled in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. William “Bill” is the youngest and often goes with his mom to the food pantry, which is across the street from their home.  

One of their favorite meals to make from the pantry supplies is bean soup. The food boxes are thoughtfully assembled for meals, like hamburger with noodles and spaghetti sauce.  

Karmen said other pantries in the area aren’t always open, so people come from neighboring communities to get food. She shared, “It definitely helps the people, that’s for sure. It helps everyone from single-parent families to the elderly, especially those who are raising their grandkids.” 

Despite not having a car to get around, Karmen said her family is doing all right. When she needs groceries, she finds a ride to the nearest town about 20 miles away. She noted, “There’s a small selection and the price is way outrageous. You have to check your fruits and vegetables and expiration dates.” 

For better access to nutritious food, she’s learning how to can her own vegetables. On the weekends, her family tends to a garden at her mom’s house, where they grow corn, peas, tomatoes, and herbs. 

Karmen is grateful for the pantry’s help and hopes that people continue to support it. She wanted donors to know, “When people donate, they don’t realize how much they’re helping another family. People here would struggle without the pantry, especially toward the end of the month in between pay periods. There have been times where I’ve literally depended on it.” You can help the Lightfields and other families by donating to NAA today. 

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