BOX ELDER - Across from Stone Child College is "The Help Lodge."
The facility is completed in the hopes of serving Tribal members in the community.
State and Tribal representatives met at Stone Child College recently to discuss the increasing need for the facility.
The facility was built using federal CARES money and a grant was used for operations.
"It feels great to have a building like this. A lot of people had a helping hand in getting this building up and going. It's meant a lot to our community as it serves our food pantry. We also call it our "emergency relief center." We also named it, 'The Help Lodge'," explained Chippewa Cree Tribe Director of Natural Resources Bobbi Fabel. "People come here for supplies for Covid. We service several families throughout the month, so it helps a lot of people sustain our households throughout the month."
While the facility is just beginning its operations, there are some expansions that are in the works.
Jolene Standingrock, who is soon to become the food coordinator at the facility, said COVID-19 took a toll on the community, noting that people were starving and had limited resources.
Jolene said, "There was nowhere to go, and we worked from a small building when we opened back up. We started from the ground working from an old building and worked our way up."
Jolene added that she hopes to make the facility an emergency-resource center.
"I was told it was going to be used for that eventually," she said. "You never know when we're going to be hit with a natural disaster. Things happen, so we thought we should have a big emergency center."
Those involved in the project noted the diabetes rate is high in the area, which is one of the reasons they are aiming at establishing a tribal garden and limiting processed foods at the facility.
Montana Director of Rural Development Kathleen Williams says this is a major step in helping the tribal community.
Kathleen said, "the project we collaborated with Jolene the tribal community here is adding to this project through funding a refrigerated delivery truck, so that this facility can deliver perishables," Williams said. "So the collaboration is really an honor. That was a rural healthcare grant ... It's a great way to celebrate the partnership between USDA, Rural Development, and Rocky Boy Tribe of Chippewa Cree."