Monday, October 29, 2007

Urgent Need @ Pine Ridge Reservation

Porcupine Clinic, located in the small community of Porcupine, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota [Sioux] Reservation is out of heat.

According to Stella White Eyes, Administrative Assistant for the Clinic, the Clinic has closed its doors until it can find resources to fund their heating costs.

Porcupine Clinic is the only independent Indian community-controlled health clinic in the United States. It is not connected with the Federal Indian Health Services (IHS) program and is funded primarily by grants and donations. Unfortunately, those resources have become exceptionally rare this year.Porcupine Clinic opened its doors in 1992 and serves the entire Reservation as well as the Porcupine District in which it is located. Patients are billed according to their ability to pay and many patients, including low-income Elders and children, receive free health care there. In 2004, the Porcupine Clinic opened its dialysis unit, saving countless lives of those diabetic patients who could not journey 120 miles away to Rapid City for needed dialysis treatment several times a week. The only other dialysis treatment available on the 11,000 square mile (2.7 million acres) Reservation is located in the small IHS Hospital in the community of Pine Ridge. But that facility hosts only a handful of dialysis beds, is up to 100 miles away from the more remote areas of the Reservation, and is completely unable to treat the vast need of the entire Reservation.

Recent statistics state that the diabetes rate on Pine Ridge is 800% that of the National average and the life expectancy rate is 52 to 58 years old. It is said that 55% of the adults on Pine Ridge over the age of 40 have diabetes.

Ms. White Eyes states that the Clinic has been unable to pay their annual propane tank rental fees of $245 (for both the Clinic and dialysis unit tanks) or for the propane to fill them. They have three tanks: a thousand gallon tank which services the main clinic and two five hundred gallon tanks servicing the dialysis unit. The minimum propane delivery from their provider, Western Cooperative (WESTCO) out of Chadron and Hay Springs, Nebraska, is $360. If all the tanks were filled, at $1.69 per gallon, it would cost well over $3,000. Further, that will need to happen more than once this winter.

While the dialysis unit helps to fund at least part of its own propane use, the Clinic is out of funding now, just as winter is approaching fast. Harvey Iron Boy, Porcupine District Vice President and Head Man, spoke of the vital role that the Clinic plays in the local district as well as the Reservation as a whole. Not only are the health care services, bi-lingual assistance, diabetic education, and dialysis treatments all meeting critical needs on the Reservation but there are more basic needs met by the Clinic as well. He pointed out that locals often come into the Clinic simply to get warm on days when they have no heat in their own homes. Ms. White Eyes has contacted various non-profits and assistance organizations but has largely gone unanswered.

Anyone wishing to donate towards propane fuel for the Porcupine Clinic may do so directly to the propane company. Please contact: Loretta at Western Cooperative (WESTCO) 170 Bordeaux St Chadron, NE 69337-2342 Call Toll Free 800-762-9906 Credit Card and Bank Card donations by phone will be accepted. Small donations are also welcome and will accumulate until the minimum delivery has been reached and then the company will make a delivery of propane to the Clinic.Please clearly mark any donation "For Porcupine Clinic." Donations may also be sent directly to the Clinic.For more information, please contact:Porcupine ClinicStella White Eyes, Administrative Assistant P.O. Box 99 Porcupine, SD 57772 Internet Information: 605-867-5655Note: Due to lack of heat, there may or may not be anyone available to answer the phone at the Clinic at this time. Please leave a message.Stephanie M. Schwartz may be reached at Visit other writings of Stephanie M. Schwartz at

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Backpack Packing Party

Thanks to all who came and helped fill the backpacks with school suppiles last night!

We'll do it again before we leave next summer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Annual Holday Candy/Cookie Fundraiser

It's that time again. If you would like to let us do your holiday baking, see any of the following team members.

Cathy J.
Buckeyes - $12.00 for 3 dozen
Peanut Butter Fudge - $8.00 per pound
Brian W.
Hugs & Kisses (cookies, not real hugs and kisses) $5.00 per dozen
Amber B.
Homemade Gingersnaps - $5.00 per dozen in gift bag
Chocolate Walnut Fudge - $8.00 per pound
Tyler H.
Low-Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies - $4.00 per dozen
Proceeds help to pay Team Member's trip costs.

Please order from the person selling the item you wish to order.
Please pay at the time of order
If you are a team member and want to participate, get your information Amber asap

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mission Coffeehouse

Here is what came in the mail today.

Good Afternoon Amber,

I am happy to inform you that Backpacks for Pine Ridge was selected as our monthy mission focus for Mission Coffeehouse. Over the course of the month we collected $638.18 for your cause.

Mission Coffeehouse was opened just over one year ago. We are a fully functioning coffeehouse with a foundation in faith. We are located in the First Lutheran Church in Brookings, SD. We not only sell Fair Trade Coffee but all income over expenses goes to support missions such as yours.

We want to thank you for your dedicated efforts and wish you wll on your next trip to Pine Ridge.

(name omitted for online security)


I don't even know what to say. I am continually amazed at the generousity of strangers.

If you are ever in the Brookings, SD area, stop by Mission Coffeehouse and have a cup of coffee and thank them for caring for others by selling Fair Trade coffee and giving to missions.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Our Friends

Check out some of our friends on our MySpace page. Some of them are going out of their way for us.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 2, 2008 for a Spaghetti Dinner to benefit the Pine Ridge team.

The dinner will be following the morning worship service in the fellowship hall.

We will sell tickets in advance, so team members may sell tickets at work or to family or neighbors.

We will need team members to help with all aspects of this event. Team members who work the event will benefit from it, and those who do not, will not benefit. Proceeds will go toward team member's trip costs.

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's Here! The Backpack Packing Party

We will do the Backpack Packing Party on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2007 at the Buriff house. We will get started at 7PM and it will probably take a couple of hours. In the past we've knocked it out in an hour but this year we have more backpacks to fill and pack.

We are going to do it different this year to allow people who are not going with us in '08 to be a part of the trip if they want to. I am going to open it up to the church and will take the first 15 people who sign up. Crew members are welcome to sign up too, in fact, we'll need some of them, but this way some who are not able to travel to the Reservation with us can still have a "hands on" experience in helping.

So, if you want to come - let me know so I can add you to the list.

By the way, we are still collecting money, backpacks and school supplies. We currently have enough for 3 villages but if we get more, we will take more - we'll just have another backpack packing party to get them filled and packed.