Success Stories

Winter Fuel is not Always Enough

Elder Fragile Elders would attempt to weather the cold and hope that the winter will pass quickly.

"The basic standard of living of Native Americans remains well below that of the rest of the nation, with crumbling structures, unsanitary conditions, and overcrowding all too common in Indian Country. Native American households often lack even basic provisions such as plumbing, electricity, and telephone lines. Moreover, they seldom have the infrastructure or the economic viability to enable improvements. These conditions are unacceptable in 21st century America. As long as current housing problems remain unfixed, conditions will continue to deteriorate, requiring greater tribal and federal investments in the future. Native people are entitled to adequate, safe, and sanitary homes like other Americans." [ Source: usccr.gov]

The article mentioned above was published several a few years ago.  Unfortunately, not much has changed since then.  With nightly temperatures routinely dropping below freezing during the winter, any Elder living in such a substandard home would find surviving difficult.  Even when Winter Fuel assistance is available, the life-saving heat quickly dissipates through cracked windows, doors, and walls.

The Southwest Reservation Aid (SWRA) recognizes the need to protect these vulnerable Elders and has found a way to help.  Working through program partners at the senior centers to reach the Elders in their communities, supplies many of the Elders with emergency winter boxes.

These boxes often contain items like:

Winter Box Items To purchase these items on most reservations is often beyond the means of many of the Native Americans who live there.

  • disaster blankets
  • gloves
  • candles
  • flashlights with batteries
  • personal hygiene items (bathroom tissue, lotion, mouthwash, bar soap, water, wipes, and bandages)
  • food items (such as coffee, soup, corn, macaroni and cheese)
  • playing cards

To purchase these items on most reservations is often beyond the means of many of the Native Americans who live there. If weatherization supplies are available at all on the reservations, which is unlikely, the prices are exorbitant.  Many of the Elders are either homebound or lack transporation to travel off the reservation.  So for most, without the blessing of the SWRA winter emergency boxes, these fragile Elders would attempt to weather the cold and hope that the winter will pass quickly.

This service touches the lives of many Native American Elders in the Southwest because of the generosity of SWRA supporters like you. Your support makes a difference.

Our Mission: Serving immediate needs. Supporting long-term solutions.
Our Vision: Strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.

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