Operation Compassion Renews Commitment to Native Americans

By , March 26, 2004

As the Holiday Season of 2003 approached, Operation Compassion retooled and renewed its commitment to the Native American Nations. After trying various methods of supplying product for the Native Americans a new plan was developed that will supply the most basics needs on the reservations.

When Operation Compassion consulted with tribal leaders on the needs of their people, the leaders discussed supplying less variety but more quantity. The products in greatest demand were potatoes, corn, powered milk, bottled water, firewood and clothing. A tribal family can sustain themselves if these products are made available to them.

In response to this need, Operation Compassion delivered a total of forty-two semi trucks. Sixteen semis were loaded with potatoes; sixteen semis were loaded with fifty-five pound bags of USDA powered milk; one semi contained five gallon pails filled with corn; eight semis contained food and gifts for Christmas. Beginning in November 2003 through January 2004, reservations from Canada to Mexico, west of the Mississippi, covering ten different states received these products for distribution across the various reservations.

“Three years ago when the FADC was only a dream, we wanted to do something that would make an impact on the largest number of people living on reservations,” according to John D. Nichols, President, Operation Compassion.

Nichols continued, “It has taken some time but now we have a good plan. By providing five or six of the most basic products, all of our efforts can be concentrated instead of divided.”

In partnership with other agencies, businesses, churches and individuals, Operation Compassion has the capacity to make a permanent presence on the various Native American reservations. Operation Compassion will be using the First American Distribution Center in Gallup, NM as a base of operations for all of the reservations west of the Mississippi River. To service the reservations east of the Mississippi River, Operation Compassion will use its Cleveland, TN warehouse.

One of the main concerns in working on the reservations is the distance many families have to come in order to receive product. On the reservation there is no real central location and some have to walk long distances off the road, down paths, steep hills and mountains. It was extremely difficult to get large quantities of twenty-five or thirty products.

However, with this new focus, the potential to supply much larger quantities becomes a reality. Individual families can receive enough products to last a month or more, diminishing their concern of running short.

David Lorency, International Field Director, Operation Compassion stated, “This is really a new beginning for Operation Compassion in working with the Native Americans. This concentrated effort to supply fewer products but greater quantity has the potential to reach at least 50% more Native American families.”

“Partnering with churches on the reservations as distribution points will allow far more families to receive these life-sustaining products while reaching into more remote parts of the reservations,” Lorency continued.

Anyone interested in supporting financially, donating products or providing a corporate lead may contact:

Operation Compassion
Dr. John D. Nichols, President
David Lorency, International Field Director
Tim Burdashaw, Communications & Development

114 Stuart Road, NE Suite 370
Cleveland, TN 37312
423.728.3932 Office
423.728.3958 Fax
www.operationcompassion.org

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