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OUR GOOD DEEDS: Nonprofit gives woman new home

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The home built by Next Step Ministries and other local nonprofits is seen earlier this summer before siding was installed. Faith White Dress, who received the home from the nonprofit, hopes to move in this fall.

Faith White Dress works part-time as a receptionist.

Afterward, the 57-year-old heads home to the small community of Cheyenne Creek where she raises her three grandchildren — all under 5 years of age — and her 18-year-old daughter in a trailer that's falling down around them.

She turns on the kitchen faucet and water doesn't come out. The pipes froze once and now the only water that comes into the house does so through the bathtub faucet.

When she goes to cook a meal, sometimes the stove comes on. But more often it doesn't. Electricity works sporadically in their home. 

Her floors are in terrible condition and her lack of finances make repairs nearly impossible.

She recently reached out to Lakota Hope Ministry, a group that has assisted her in the past, to see if they could repair her floors.

That group submitted her name to another nonprofit looking to build a new home in the area.

Once the faith-based group Next Step Ministries learned about White Dress and her family's situation, they selected her family to be the recipient of the home.

When she heard the news, White Dress was in shock.

"I couldn't believe it at first," she said. "It was really hard for me to believe that we would be chosen for something like this. And I'm really thankful."

Each week, a new group affiliated with Next Step or local partners Lakota Hope Ministry and Hands of Faith Ministries came to work on the new home, located next to White Dress' trailer. 

Next Step Ministries, based in Madison, Wis., brings youth groups to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and 13 other domestic and international locations to repair homes or to do full builds, according to area director Melanie Cocalis. The volunteer groups, from all over the United States, have been working in Pine Ridge sine 2010. White Dress' home is the second full-build they have completed in the area.

One of the highlights for both volunteers and for White Dress has been meeting, talking and engaging with one another. 

White Dress gave visitors gifts and artwork and would share the story of her life and culture with visitors, Cocalis said. 

Meeting the people building her home has been uplifting for White Dress as well. She estimates about 20 groups have worked on the home at this point. One group wrote Scripture quotes on walls before covering their words with drywall, while a group from New York wrote their initials in some of the cement around the home.

One group was a comprised of nine families from Indiana. One day White Dress grinned when she saw children from the families sitting on the ground, pounding away with hammers as they worked on her home. 

Nearly a year into the build, the home is nearly done. White Dress has the keys and a couple from Pennsylvania is in town right now wrapping up the plumbing and electrical work on the four-bedroom home.

White Dress and her family should be able to move in this fall.

Of note from readers

Church Response wants to thank Crazy Horse Memorial for its  continuing support of the KOTA Care and Share Food Drive and for supporting Church Response each year. The Memorial has collected more than 22,000 pounds of food during the first six months of 2015.

The organization will waive its daily admission fee with the donation of three canned food items per person on Sept. 4-7, Oct. 12 and Nov. 11.

Thank you for helping Church Response lend a helping hand to more than 725 families in our community. During the first five months of this year, Church Response distributed 53,940 pounds of food. 

— Bob Britt, president Church Response

Black Hills Federal Credit Union donated $1,000 last month to kick-start the Leadership Rapid City Class of 2014’s Soap for Hope donation campaign.

— Jackson Bolstad, marketing communications at BHFCU

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