Cheyenne River Indian Outreach | St. Joseph's Indian School

Offering hope, one simple need at a time

When Susan* woke up, it took her a moment to remember where she was … after a panicked second she remembered that she was safe, her son and daughter sleeping on either side of her, safe at last …

Susan needed help last night — in the middle of the night.

Thanks to YOU, Cheyenne River Indian Outreach (CRIO) was there for Susan and her children!

Our 24-hour shelter welcomed her and her children into a safe haven. They had a warm bed to sleep in and a movie in the shelter’s living room to help them calm down after their ordeal. In the morning, they will have toothbrushes and things for the shower, along with clothes and shoes from the Bear Necessities Thrift Store.

They left their home last night — fleeing for their very lives — with only the pajamas they were wearing.

As part of the mission at Cheyenne River Indian Outreach (CRIO), the Bear Necessities Thrift Store provides clothing and household items for needy families who seek shelter, safety and hope.

Did you know your simple gift of towels and washcloths could help light the path to a better future for an abused woman, or a teenager who never thought they had a chance to live a normal life?

“It goes without saying that people’s needs are being met because of the thrift store,” said Melissa, Bear Necessities Manager. “We provide basic items for the women and children who come to the shelter. I love my job because I get to help provide clothing and other simple needs to those who need help so desperately. Knowing their needs will be met may be the final step that makes a woman seek help and leave a dangerous situation. That is a very big deal.”

Not only does Bear Necessities help women and children at the shelter, but it is the only thrift store in a 100-mile area.

“Anything that isn’t immediately needed at the shelter is available for sale to community members at a nominal cost,” said Melissa. “Without the support of those who so generously send donations, a lot of Native American people would be in a very hard place. We can provide them with clothing and other basics they would not be able to afford otherwise.”

In addition to having items available at the store, Melissa makes monthly distributions to the far-reaching communities on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, which covers more square mileage than the state of Connecticut. Due to various obstacles and hardships, residents of these areas are often unable to make the trip to Eagle Butte to pick up what they need.

Melissa makes monthly distributions to the far-reaching communities on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation

Bear Necessities receives many requests for household items, including knick-knacks and decorations for a home.

Their most frequent needs include:

  • Clothing (all sizes)
  • Shoes (all sizes)
  • Bedding (sheets, blankets, pillow cases, all sizes)
  • Towels
  • Household décor and knick knacks
  • Dishes, including pots and pans
  • Bathroom items, including bathmats, towels, washcloths and rugs
  • Anything that would help furnish a home!

Other highly usable items include:

  • Bags, purses and wallets
  • Books, DVDs, CDs
  • Small electronics such as radios or DVD players

View CRIO’s full needs list!

Wopila tankamany thanks — for helping Native American families in need!

Learn more about the hard realities of life on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

* Names and photos have been changed to protect privacy.


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