First Families Now is dedicated to providing vital necessities to children and families in geographically isolated, high need communities throughout Pine Ridge Reservation. We strive to bring hope to families by providing clothing, food, heating assistance, hygiene and health products. We also offer a variety of community activities with a cultural foundation.
Facts and Statistics
The Pine Ridge Reservation was established in 1889 as Camp 334 for indigenous prisoners of war.
The population of the Pine Ridge Reservation is 19,779. (2017)
At 11,000-square miles, the Pine Ridge Reservation is the second largest Native American Reservation in the U.S.
There are approximately only 2,000 Lakota language speakers across the plains for the North and South Dakota plains.
Alcoholism affects eight out of 10 families, contributing to a death rate that is 300 percent higher than the remaining U.S. population.
As the poorest county in the U.S. 97 percent of the population lives far below the U.S. federal poverty line with a median household income ranging between $2,600 and $3,500 per year.
There is an estimated average of 17 people living in each family home, a home that may only have two to three rooms.
The nearest town of size (which provides some jobs for those few persons able to travel the distance) is Rapid City, South Dakota is located approximately 120 miles from the Reservation. That is the town with the closest airport also.
There is little to no industry, technology, or commercial infrastructure on the Reservation to provide employment.
School drop-out rate is over 70%.
Weather can be extreme on the Reservation. Severe winds are always a factor. Traditionally, summer temperatures reach well over 100*F and winters bring bitter cold with temperatures that can reach -20*F below zero or worse. Flooding, tornados, or wildfires are always a risk.
At least 60% of the homes are severely substandard, without water, electricity, adequate insulation, and sewage systems.
Teen suicide rate is 150 percent higher than the U.S. national average.
Extremely high rate of diabetes. Almost half of the population over 40 on the Pine Ridge Reservation have diabetes.
Life expectancy on Pine Ridge is the lowest in the United States and the 2nd lowest in the Western Hemisphere.
First Families Now
2900 BIA 27
FFN would like to give a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Bill Johnson! Wopila for all of the wonderful food and supplies you brought to the Pine Ridge Reservation! It sure was a busy but productive day. So many people came out and recieved some much need help. We appreciate you and this kind gesture. May the blessing you gave be returned to you and your beautiful family.
"Warm Up The Ridge"
FFN would like to recognize and show appreciation to Mr Stevens and his beautiful family for the hard work they put into helping the people here on the reservation. Although it was a bit cold outside we had a beautiful day and our hearts were full knowing that so many families were getting the help they needed. Thanks to you all many families here in Pine Ridge are able to keep warm and safe during the harsh winter months.
As always thank you First Families Now staff and volunteers, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for your endless efforts. Wopila Tanka.
“More pics from the 7th annual “Warm Up the Ridge”.
This was by far our Biggest event. All 9 districts received 48 heaters and tons of clothes.
Then we opened it up to the people in Alice’s surrounding area. Timing was good, it is suppose to get down to 10 below.
I want you to know how needed this drive is. As we gave out clothes we started emptying all the boxes. A man came up to me and asked what I was doing with the empty Cardboard boxes. I told him just stacking them over by the side of the building. He ask if he could have them. I told him no problem, it will help Alice get rid of the cardboard. I asked him what he was using them For.
He told me Insulation for the place he lived.
Thank you people for your generosity! It is making a difference. They ask about Warm Up Ridge all year long according to Alice.
I also want to thank Dan, our CEVA driver. He has driven the Semi for the last three years . With out CEVA this couldn’t happen. With out Alice this could not happen, with out the XLR Service Team this could not happen, without Thad Lichtensteiger and Hope Wallace this would not happen. With out the generous donations from my RV family, this would not happen. And without Van Wert donations this would not happen. This all started in Van Wert. Thank You Van Wert !” -Brent Stevens