Summer Food in Indian Country – Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

(Drum circle music) When I first started working for the Cheyenne Eagle Butte school twelve years ago, they did not have summer food. And so for the first
summer, because I had come on towards the end of March, it looked like it was too late to get it going that year. So the next year, I made sure I got on it and got all the paperwork in
and stuff. And that’s why this is going to be our eleventh year of feeding. So we’ve been feeding since then for eleven years, and it’s a successful program.
It runs really good. Every year we have more students. And it’s an open site, so any child from any community
can come and eat a free and nutritious meal. And so that’s good for not only the children, but also the parents.
It saves them from cooking at home and all of that. (Instrumental music) The community itself – the whole reservation – we’re kind
of poverty-stricken – so less fortunate than others. And sometimes some families have like two/three families living under one roof.
And they really can’t afford food the majority of the time. So this really helps them out a lot. And my kids come to this
program too. And me and my husband both work, but it helps out. It’s just been wildly popular here. The first day, there’s no parking
here at all over lunch, which you’ll see when you’re here. It’s just crazy because there’s so many people that really do take advantage. And last year we
bussed our students from the other school down to here for the lunch program. We didn’t have any bus drivers on due to budget cuts this year. And the kids and the
parents – they all make it down here from the other school and from the community. They come in specifically for lunch. And we have a lot of parents that pay for the meal so
that they can eat with their kids too. So it’s really a good program for this community. (Indian blues music) (Indian blues music) And so in the summertime, we have the summer swim program, and we bring the kids from
the outer communities. We transport them in to the swim pool here in Eagle Butte. And after they get through with swimming – and they swim from 10:00 a.m. to
12:00 p.m. – we bring them over here to the food program. Because if they were at home and in their communities, they would be eating there; but because we’re bringing them in
for that activity, they eat here before we take them home so that they don’t miss a meal. And that works out really good because our program
runs with the food program for the summer. We come here in the morning at 8, and then we eat breakfast. And then
we go home, and then we come back here at 11:00 a.m. Some of my favorite things to do here – to come eat and to
see people I haven’t seen in a while and talk to new people. My favorite thing to do here is I come in and have a
free meal and have fun outside and do whatever. My favorite foods is mostly what they do serve here.
It don’t matter what they cook or anything. Interviewer: Why do you all think you are so healthy? Because I eat healthy foods and I exercise a lot. I go running.
I’m in sports. I eat vegetables and fruits basically all the time. Me – I’m kind of like an inch off that – what she does. My goal is to get more kids to come in and more parents to be more involved
and to see how good our program is. I mean, it runs really good here. I mean, it practically pays for itself except it doesn’t cover all
salaries, but it does pay for the food, freight, storage. It may pay for one or two salaries, and I use as much of the USDA commodities that I can use,
and I think that’s why – I’m just thankful for USDA because they really help us in that way. You’re feeding kids. You’re saving the parents from doing all that extra cooking. And you know that
your child is getting a free, nutritious meal. And the kids don’t have to go hungry. (Drum circle music)

5 thoughts on “Summer Food in Indian Country – Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

  1. This is also a positive way of bringing our community back together. Good job Cheyenne River, I am proud of you. Keep up the positive.. Negative takes alot more work to keep going.

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