Water
gene

An early picture of my father at one of our first water wells on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

March 22nd is the United Nation’s World Water Day. Read this message from our Executive Director, Paul Krizek, to hear how water initiated our first partnerships and was one of Christian Relief Services’ primary focuses when it was founded 28 years ago.

Dear Friends,

Nowadays I am sure you hear regularly about so many different days of commemoration or celebration – I do believe March 20th is commemorated as Extraterrestrial Abductions Day while March 21st is reserved for celebrating Fragrance Day – and maybe World Water Day would have passed you by. But for me, World Water Day is just one day out of 365 days that should be dedicated to this resource that is so necessary to every aspect of human life. In fact, the very first project that Christian Relief Services dedicated itself to was the construction of a water well on an American Indian reservation. Back then, my father, Gene Krizek, had just founded Christian Relief Services and traveled out to the reservation to talk about the most pressing need. He received a one-word response: “Water.”Access to water has been a challenge in nearly all the communities we have worked with. From American Indian reservations in the northern Midwest of the United States to the remotely located villages of Bo in the Bumpe Ngao Chiefdom of Sierra Leone – water is the key to life.

And as always, thank you for your ongoing support and compassion for the issues that affect so many struggling communities worldwide. I can truly say that you are our rock when times test our resolve against these critical issues. 

Thank you,
Paul Krizek

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International Programs

african-programs Christian Relief Services has long believed that, as citizens of the wider word, we have an obligation to help others all across the world, not just here in the United States. Most countries have standards of living far below what is enjoyed in the United States. Christian Relief Services, for over 20 years, has worked to raise the standard of living in other countries, primarily in Africa, but also in Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Lithuania. We do this by supporting grassroots initiatives and hospitals by providing food, medicine, medical supplies, medical re-agents, clean water, education, vocational training, literacy and agricultural assistance.

“We are very grateful to you for helping the people of Africa. Your sacrifices have put smiles on our faces. Many, many people who have been hopeless now have hope to live.”
– F Reverend Frances Mambu Director, Faith Healing Development Organization Sierra Leone, Africa

Backpack Food Programs

backpacksAs we approach the school year, children living on reservations face rumbling bellies that can interfere with their education.Children attending the Takini School on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation face 30 mile bus rides to and from school and 3-day weekends (the Takini School has a four-day school week) without enough provisions to last each meal, much less any snacks.These rural communities stretching on the miles of reservation in Ziebach County, Wyoming sadly boasts the highest child poverty rate in the United States.

Without your support and the backpack food program supported by Christian Relief Services, these impoverished children would face no reprieve on the weekends or long bus rides from their hunger pangs.School is such a gift – and truly a necessity in the world today – but how can children study if they are distracted by their empty tummies?To keep these children fed and healthy, it only takes a small gift – or a commitment to supporting a child through our Running Strong for American Indian Youth® program all year round by becoming a monthly giver online through our secure server.

Stories like Nadine’s (told below) are not unique – they are the tragic stories of communities embedded in cycles of harsh poverty with no accessible stores or resources to help them.Except for Christian Relief Service’s backpack food program.

My name is Nadine.I’m the parent of six children who are enrolled at Takini School from kindergarten to the sophomore class.Since its inception, the backpack program has really helped a lot of us parents in providing snacks for our kids.A lot of us are low income, considered poverty-level.For me as a parent trying to make my food dollars stretch, it’s pretty tough.The kids really do watch their backpacks and keep an eye on each other’s stuff.Mostly it’s nutritious for them too and they can heat up things in the microwave.It’s really helped me as a parent because I’ve had hard times living out here in a rural area.Our nearest store is 27-30 miles away, just to go there for a loaf of bread and peanut butter and jelly is really a trip—almost40 dollars in gas.For these kids to take this stuff home on weekends really helps.I know a lot of the kids depend on the program and they look forward to it.It’s something that they cherish because some of them drive from here to Eagle Butte to get home.On that bus ride home I know they are hungry and tired.This backpack helps us make due for our kids.It has really helped the families a lot.We really are grateful.I know a lot of parents are.It’s a gift for us because we have it hard you know, so thank you very much. – Takini School Mother

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Supportive Housing

Housing Programs

Providing affordable housing units allowing individuals and families a place to live which is within their means as well as within commuting distance to their workplace. Breaking the cycle of homelessness through supportive and transitional housing and providing a variety of residential settings to increase independence for people living with disabilities.

Please support our Housing Programs.

Toys for Tribes

Every year Running Strong strives to bring comfort and joy to Native families on reservations. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to make the holidays very special for thousands of American Indian children. The 2013 Toys for Tribes program was an even bigger success than in 2012. Thanks to your support, Running Strong was able to provide 2,400 toys to about 2,000  American Indian youngsters on the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge reservations this past Christmas! Thank you for helping us spread joy to these little boys and girls.

You Helped Us Provide:

❆ 1,500 food boxes
❆ 1,950 blankets
❆ 5,500 coats with hoods
❆ 2,675 hats
❆ 2,675 scarves
❆ 2,675 hats

Northern Virginia

Housing ProgramsVirginia the 9th most expensive state in the nation for rental housing costs.

According to Out of Reach 2013, “housing costs vary across the nation, but the lack of affordable housing affects low-wage workers in all corners of the country. In order to close the gap between the demand for affordable housing and the supply, we would need to add 4.5 million units affordable to ELI households. This is not an unattainable goal.

The 2013 Housing Wage is $18.79, exceeding the $14.32 hourly wage earned by the average renter by almost $4.50 an hour, and greatly exceeding wages earned by low income renter households.”

Out of Reach 2013, was released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a Washington, DC-based housing advocacy group. To access the entire report, click on the link http://nlihc.org/oor/2013

Click for more information on Christian Relief Services’ Housing Programs.

Supportive Housing

Transitional Housing

Affordable Housing
Christian Relief Services works to address the need for affordable housing by operating affordable housing units where individuals and families can live in a place within their means as well as within commuting distance from their workplace.

Supportive Housing
Supportive HousingHomes for the Homeless,” operates in partnership sponsoring agencies to include local private non-profits, and public agencies providing case management and specialized support services. We conduct housing counseling, property maintenance, and oversee the case management services provided by our sponsoring agencies. Sponsoring agencies provide direct rehabilitation, vocational services and health care.
Christian Relief Services’ affiliate, Christian Relief Services of Virginia, maintains and operates 10 of our units for their Safe Places Residential Program which provides direct case management and family therapy to victims of domestic violence. Furthermore, Safe Places runs weekly support groups for women and their children who have fled domestic violence.

food deliveries

In 2012, Christian Relief Services and its project, Americans Helping Americans® worked in partnership with volunteers and community partners to provice the following support to Americans living in poverty: 

Outreach Programs for Youth and Families
food deliveries In 2012, our concentrated efforts, through funding to Americans Helping Americans®, an affiliate of Christian Relief Services, assisted very low-income people with emergency assistance, home repair, school supplies, enrichment camps and services for youth, and life skills training in rural areas of Appalachia and urban programs. 27,000 individuals were assisted in Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Districk of Columbia. 

Food and Relief Distribution
food and relief distribution
In 2012, we provided a total of 64,336 pounds of food to Americans in dire need. For the holidays, 6,048 turkeys were provided. In addition to the food, other items distributed included blankets, new coats, as well as small gift items for many families that are unable to provide gifts for their children. We also distributed new shoes, hygiene items, and school supplies and craft items. 

Service-Enriched Housing and Community Resource Centers
service enriched housing
Through our Americans Helping Americans® affiliate that we fund, we provided community-based services to residents at Pine Ridge Apartments (301 units) in Phoenix, Arizona.

64,336 lbs of food distributed
6,048 turkeys for the holidays
2,316 blankets
2,043 new coats
3,087 toys
1,624 pairs of new shoes
1,700 hygiene kits
1,800 school supply kits