Pine Ridge Reservation the Poorest of the Poor
Serving the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation!
In 1981 a Native American ministry was started in Allen, SD to help those who lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Located on BIA 22 on the edge of the reservation stands a little church that provides a variety of services for those who are in need.
The mission was first started by Ed Parsells and he worked out of a trailer house. In 1985, Paul and Kathy Bently took over the ministry. When they arrived there was still only one trailer house and church services were held in the livingroom of the trailer. Over the next 20 years the church grew and so did the number of buildings on the property. Now there is a sanctuary, fellowship hall, and dorm rooms for housing missionaries and the homeless.
Currently Barry and Shelly Bentley are heading up the ministry at Pass Creek. They are working hard and trying to create additional services that can help the people who live in Bennett County. One current addition is a not for profit thrift store that provides affordable clothing and house wares for the local people.
The need is great. Only 419 people live in Allen according to the 2000 United States Census, and it is considered the poorest place in the United States. President Clinton stopped in about 10 years ago to educate the nation about the plight of the people there but it has had little impact. The problems there are almost overwhelming. Pine Ridge is located far away from large towns, making employment difficult. Driving to work is not easy because most don't have a car, and even if they do gas prices make it almost prohibitive to do so. The school district is probably the biggest employer for local residents, but the schools are strapped for money because of low income levels. Alcohol and drugs are prevelant, as well as all the ills that come from that. Unempolyment is over 80% and more than 40,000 people live on the local reservation. The weather can be rough in this part of South Dakota and the sucide rate is high.
But You Can Help!
Individual Families need our help. In order to do that the Pass Creek Mission is located as close as possible to the Reservation. This allows us to service those who are need on a one to one basis. The needs are many for local residents and they change constantly so your donations can take on many forms, from money, clothes, household items, linens, food, lumber, and even short term missions trips to the area.
Make a Difference
There are many ways you can be a friend to the Lakota people. If you would like to learn more about bringing a group on a short term mission projects; would like to send any charitable donations or need to contact Barry or Shelly Bentley for more information please contact them at:
Pass Creek Church of God
PO Box 600
Allen, South Dakota 57714-0600