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Joy Palmer

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Boone Appalachia Relief
November 24, 2010

I am a pastor's wife at a tiny Baptist Church/Center on the Wind River Indian Reservation. My husband and I have served the people of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Araphoe tribes for over 16 years. Steve Reese showed up unannounced in our driveway one day this past fall asking us to work with him as he brought a truckload of food to our community. We were eager to do so as the food IS needed by many families here on the reservation. However, we have been sadly disappointed by the Reeses and Shelter Rock Ministries. -The Reeses refused to distribute the food equally between the two tribes on our reservation creating a great deal of animosity toward us personally and toward our church among the older members of one of the tribes on our joint reservation. -The Reeses spent no time doing on the actual work of the distribution themselves. When questioned about this Catherine Reese responded, "I was preparing food for the volunteers."...They did travel 15 miles to and from the nearest Pizza Hut to purchase pizza for 2 of the 5 meals needed to feed the volunteers, but I do not believe that she was employed by Pizza Hut at any time during the week! lol -The plan for distribution that the Reeses use involves a tremendous amount of unnecessary labor. Instead of rebagging the food in plastic sacks that tear, the food could easily be given away with 1 or 2 volunteers per item.....this would eliminate about 80% of the work required by the current plan. -Steve Reese originally promised our church a part of the food to be given away for our church pantry from which we provide 2 free meals a week in return for our participation in the project. However, no food was ever given to us and when we mentioned that we had given some food to a sister church/in-house-treatment ministry which sent volunteers twice to assist in the project Steve seemed very upset and demanded to how much and what we had given away. -The canned food was all dented and with no labels. Most of the rest of the food was somewhat to very far past the expiration dates. There were mouse droppings in the pallet of macaroni and almost half of the packages were crushed to where they were open and spilling out. -Steve told me that he had spent over $100,000 dollars on the food on the Saturday before it was given out. On the Sunday afternoon of the distribution Catherine told me that they had spent $5000 on the food. (I noticed a slight discrepancy between the 2 numbers!) Also several of the workers noticed company labels on the pallets specifying that it had been donated from the original company. -At the begining of the week that we were working with the Reeses and Shelter Rock Ministries, my husband was asked to take the Reeses around the community to some homes with children so that they could give the kids toys and the parents gift cards to Wal-Mart. The day for this activity was changed and I ended up going with them. We had come to understand that they wanted to use this as a photo-op for their fund raising. We were very uncomfortable with this but did contact 3 families giving them as clear an understanding of what was to take place as we knew...however, after getting a parent to sign a very indepth, extremely legalized consent form (of which no copy was given to the parent), I discovered that they were walking the children out of view of the parents if possible and filming a sponsorship plea. This was repeated at the givaway site without parental permission or oversight....I am furious!!!!!!!!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Fort Washakie, WY on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...remove the Reeses from leadership...ensure that no more children/families are exploited in the fund-raising of this charity scam...ensure that the food provided to needy families is safe for human consumption...ensure that local co-ordinators fully understand the size of the project....ensure that all Indian reservation churches are aware of the danger of such people!

More feedback

Would you volunteer for this group again?

No

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Badly

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

No

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Quit exploiting children and volunteers

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

All the people who did the work had a great time together and were glad to be able to give away food for the holidays.....but I will NEVER work with a tv charity again!!!

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

very used!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

MY ROLE:
Volunteer & I spent a week helping to move, sort, and sack a semi load's worth of pallets of food...20 tons. I also organized, bussed, and fed other volunteers. It took over 50 people 500 man hours to unload, bag, reload, and distribute the food to the Reese's specif.