Blog written by Darcy Rae Schneider – Conscious Alliance Board of Directors
We just got back from our Holiday Meal Delivery. This was my first trip to Pine Ridge and we delivered meals to over 850 families on the reservation!
We were joined by a super stellar team from Justin’s Nut Butter, as well as Conscious Alliance Board Member Lance Gentry’s wife and two kids, who brought a really special energy to the trip. I had never met Lance before but can 100% understand why he is such a special part of Conscious Alliance.
Justin, Jenny and I drove a huge Penske truck…which was pretty hilarious as none of us could get in it without hoisting ourselves up and hanging on for dear life. We stopped in Chadron, Nebraska first to pick up all the food we had purchased through the generous donations of our supporters. The managers at the store were so attentive and kind to us. They went above and beyond to help us, and that was the first time that it hit me just how many people it takes to make this giving event happen.
Where this sunk in even more was in meeting Natalie and Floyd Hand, leaders of the Looks For Buffalo Foundation and our partners on Pine Ridge. We were welcomed in their home immediately with food, silly jokes and frank down-to-earth conversations and explanations about the background of the reservation, the hurdles and the people. Natalie is the ultimate hostess and multi-tasker and we made that our home base for the entire trip. The Hand Family put their lives on hold in order to host us and organize and facilitate the meal drive in a way that is beyond anything I have ever seen. I snapped a picture of Natalie on both her cell phone and house phone while she continued fielding calls day and night (yes, even at 1AM!) during the weekend. Natalie helped people with directions on where to come, to confirm they were on the list to receive a meal, to add them to the wait list or to help them navigate finding a ride to pick up the meals. Hands down (pun intended) we could not have had the event without them.
Even though we put this event together, there are so many unexpected people who really make it happen. What really drove this home for me is the amount of people on the reservation who were picking up food for other families. Many people don’t have cars and some of the families we were servicing live as far as 3 hours away. Family members and neighbors were borrowing gas money and driving hours and hours and packing up entire vans FULL of turkeys (like 85 + trimmings to be exact) just so that people in their community would be able to share food during Thanksgiving.
Truthfully, this wasn’t the kind of service trip that made you feel warm and fuzzy and allowed you to walk around with a little gold star pinned to your chest. However, there are a ton of people who are just trying to do their part and given the opportunity, will continue to do so.
We have an incredible team here. Justin and Jenny and BJ and Anna and the Hand family put themselves out there every day. We have a lot of things planned for 2013 and a ton of ways we can all be more involved in events, projects, and campaigns. For this I am excited and thankful.
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