Local teachers and pilots are making a huge difference


Anita Havens, a retired Oxford School District teacher, partnered with local pilots to deliver coats to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

The poverty in Pine Ridge is staggering. With a population of over 40,000 people, 97% live below the U.S. federal poverty line with a median household income of between $ 2,600 and $ 3,500 per year, according to Friends of the Pine Ridge Reservation and the ‘American Indian Humanitarian Foundation.

There is no industry, technology or commercial infrastructure to provide jobs for residents of the reserve, which contributes to its unemployment rate of 90%. The nearest town for people to find work is 120 miles away, and most have no transportation.

At least 60 percent of the houses are very unsanitary, without electricity or insulation, without sewers and without running water. Many have to carry water (often contaminated) from local rivers.

The weather is extreme on the reserve with summer temperatures often exceeding 110 degrees while winters bring freezing cold. It is not uncommon for winter temperatures to drop to -50 degrees below zero, making it very difficult for the elderly.

Pine Ridge pilots deliver warm clothing, coats, sweaters, gloves, socks and blankets. While we may not be able to help everyone, someone may not freeze to death this winter from the warm, slightly worn coat you donate.

The collection center for the Oxford region this year is Della Davidson Elementary School at 209 Commonwealth Boulevard and the Central Office, located in the old Oxford Elementary School building next to the motorway 30.

Drop off your donations and Pilots for Pine Ridge will deliver them upon reservation.

The deadline for this year’s collection is October 31.

If you are a pilot and would like to join the flight, contact Anita Havens at [email protected]

Staff report


Julio V. Miller

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