Ruth Neff, an ardent community volunteer herself, called last week to bring attention to some volunteers and groups who have worked this winter to provide needed items to folks in Browning.
Extreme weather this winter has jeopardized access to food and medical care for residents on the Blackfeet Reservation, and many roads have been shut down intermittently, and schools have been forced to close for extended periods of time. Communities east of the Continental Divide have received record snowfall amounts this year.
As Neff said, this winter “the snow has been terribly high” around Browning.
She got to thinking about sending some supplies east of the Divide to those that might be needing it. When the roads were clear, she and her husband Sam took a car load over themselves.
But she pointed to other folks who made several trips on their own — Ken Johnson of Essex and Dylan DesRosier of the Nature Conservancy.
“Ken said, ‘you get the items and I will get them there,’” she recalled.
Car loads — mainly of warm clothing and blankets, but also children’s books and dishes — were distributed at the Browning schools and at the Blackfeet Community Hospital.
She mentioned that while warm clothing was the obvious need, many people after being snowed out of their homes also needed kitchen essentials.
Neff requested donations from the Soroptimist International of Whitefish, which she says gave items from its Thrift Haus for the cause. The Lodge at Whitefish Lake donated sheets.
She made contacts with folks in Browning through the efforts and said everyone there “has been so appreciative.”
We know that many others from the Flathead Valley have donated and taken supplies to those in need in Browning and the surrounding area. To everyone, a big thank you.
It’s always nice to hear a bit of good news, especially about folks helping others in times of need.
Heidi Desch is the managing editor of the Whitefish Pilot.