Hello, my friends!
The government shutdown ended months ago, and so did the food shortage that followed. The City of Eagle Butte suffered through it, and I was one of many who was happy to be a part of the relief effort.
While the politicians argued over who should be blamed, the people of the Cheyenne River Reservation joined their forces together and cooperated to make this a better place to live.
The relief effort was a tremendous success. With donated money, more than 30,000 pounds of food was purchased. This food was packed into more than 6,600 bags, and distributed to 17 different communities throughout the reservation.
At first, we thought we would only have enough food to provide for the 3,000 food stamp recipients whose income had been affected by the shutdown. But it turns out that our math was very wrong.
God multiplied the available food so that we could open the food giveaway to everyone, regardless of whether they had food stamps or not! In the end, we gave away enough food to feed more than 4,000 people. That’s more than half the population of the reservation!
When I heard people talk about this, I often heard it referred to as “that thing the Baptist Church is doing”. But nothing could have been further from the truth.
While it was true that the Baptist Church and I were spearheading the effort, and the Baptist Church building was being used as a storage and distribution center, the real effort was so much bigger than that. Dozens of people from all over the reservation sacrificed their money and their time to make this dream a reality. I am writing this for them. They need to know they are appreciated.
The Dakota Baptist Convention, The Mustard Seed, the Lighthouse Church, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Cherry Creek Mennonite Church, Calvary Chapel Fellowship, Dupree Baptist Church, Burkemont Baptist Church, Addie Morris, Randy Aglahan, and the Tisdale family-hats off for donating the money that was needed to purchase this massive amount of food.
To Feeding South Dakota-thumbs up for making such high-quality food available at such reasonable prices to charitable organizations for times just like this.
The Mustard Seed and Mary Olive Johnson-lendt their expertise in smart shopping, to make our donated funds buy as much food as possible, another thumbs up.
Bryson Dupris- I appreciate your helping stack all the pews in the sanctuary, so there was room for the food that would be stored there.
CRST Telephone Authority-the use of your spare building as a cooler for our produce was awesome.
Lakota Thrifty Mart-loaning us your skid-steer and pallet jack to unload the 27 pallets of food from the truck was certainly welcome relief. It would not have been possible without you.
The homeless of Eagle Butte-it was great that you helped with carrying and stacking all of the food that the skid steer could not.
Reggie Kills a Hundred-lived at our church for weeks, in order to prevent anyone from breaking in, hats off.
To the Berndt family, to the students of Windswept Academy, to Sister Addie Morris, to Barb Berndt, to the members of Dupree Baptist Church, to the Cowan family, and to Jenna Bowker-for volunteering your time to come to First Baptist Church and pack food into bags, much appreciated.
Also, to everyone who walked in off the street, volunteered your time and energy, then left without giving your name, your are very special! Between you all, hundreds of hours of work was done.
Father Bryan Sorenson-helped me network with Catholics in Bridger and White Horse, so that food could be brought to those places. And, Jenny Lawrence-found the needs in White Horse, and sent someone to pick up the food and distribute it.
Mildred Semon-identifyed the needs in Bridger, and helped with the distribution there.
Bryce In the Woods-connected me with people in Thunder Butte and Iron Lightning who could distribute food in those places.
Matthew Dickerson- distributed food in the communities of La Plante, Swift Bird, and Ridgeview.
Chug and Karen Garreau, and to Shannon and Jane Hinrichs, distributed food to the City of Dupree and shoveled my car out of the snow and for comforting me after I twisted my ankle, hats off.
Gerald High Elk, and Reggie Kills a Hundred-distributed food to Bear Creek, Black Foot, Isabel, and Timber Lake.
Beau Bendigo-distributed food to Takini and Red Scaffold.
Mennonites of Cherry Creek-distributed food to Cherry Creek, Bridger and Cottonwood.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe-took food into places that I do not know, and to people who do not live in communities. Some people were about to slip through the cracks, but didn’t, because of you. To Reggie Kills a hundred, Jeff Big Crow, Corey Sansosti and Gary Montreal- Thank you for selflessly volunteering your time at this church. Thank you for working hours a day, every day of the week, without a thought of getting something in return or complaint about the hard work. Thank you for the carrying, for the packing, for the snow shoveling, and for picking up my slack when I twisted my ankle and could barely walk. To everyone who helped with this massive undertaking, but whose name I forgot to mention here, please forgive me. I may have overlooked you in this article, but God will not overlook you when He is giving great rewards in His Kingdom.
And speaking of God…praise be to Him who moved in the hearts of everyone listed here, and many others, to make this project possible! Dozens of times, impossible problems came up that threatened to shut down the entire giveaway. And each time, God made a solution, so that the impossible problem became more than possible; it became easy.
What happened this February should stand as a testimony to the amazing things that can happen when God moves, and when people cooperate toward a common goal. As we remember this great event, let us be moved to live at peace with each other, and to live in regular prayer.
First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte