Current & Future Community Projects


Hochoka Healing Center is constantly working on new community projects; carrying out events, planning for future events, and maintaining the work of ongoing projects in Washington, South Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, and Georgia. Whether we’re gathering with our families to enjoy a holiday or donating items to individuals in need, we are constantly working to better our neighborhoods and educate people about our culture and beliefs. Read more about our current projects below.

Current Projects

Bert Rooks’s commitment to teaching in a compassionate way helped us all to strive to be the best that we could be. He always had an eye on the needs of the elders, children and women. Our programs stem from his efforts. He began outreach programs for the local communities in South Dakota where he grew up.

As the founder and visionary for this non-profit, Bert’s loss is profound. Yet, we as a board are committed to moving forward with his teachings. Our purpose is to honor the programs and teachings of our late teacher so that his life’s work can live on. How is this going to happen? There are several ways that Bert’s teachings will continue.

South Dakota Food Pantry Program

The goal is to help families that are struggling to feed their “families” with our food pantry program. It serves families that fight intense poverty, systemic alcoholism, and violence in their communities. The reason we say “families” is because many of these “families” bring others into their homes. They provide for more than their own children. They have taken in those of extended family and community members to provide a safe stable place for them to live. These are children or young adults that need extra support, whose own families might be ravaged with alcoholism, addiction or abuse. These “families” are sober, clean, and helping to get these individuals the support, services, and employment that they need. They hope to provide healthy homes for the individuals in their care.

There have been many changes this last year with the organization we partner with to receive food for this program, but we are shifting our facility in South Dakota to become a permanent food pantry.

When we began…

In December, 2004, while searching for more resources to help the needy, we happily discovered the Rapid City Food Bank, a non-profit affiliate of Community Food Banks of South Dakota. Through our status as a non-profit organization with charitable works as part of our Mission, we are able to buy food for families who need it. All food available at the Food Bank can be purchased for the basic price of $.18 per pound. This includes a wide range from frozen meats to large variety of canned and dry goods. To understand, what this kind of pricing means, simply envision being able to fill up a pick-up truck with boxes of food for about $100.

We have established a Hochoka Healing Center checking account in Hot Springs to receive funds for buying food. Our criteria for disbursement was established by an agreement with the Food Bank based on need. We attempt to respond to all requests for assistance, which comply with the economic criterion. However, we are limited by available funds. We are aware that there are many, many families beyond the seven or eight that we regularly help, who need food supplementation. Subsequently, it is our hope to enlarge our service in this area by accumulating more funds for this project.

If you have something to share and this kind of service interests you, please contact us.

Christmas Charity Program

Enjoying the gift of abundance. The goal of this program is to share the spirit of Christmas with children and families that would not be able to experience the joy of Christmas without it.

One of our favorite charitable activities is making Christmas happen for children who would have very little Christmas cheer without our intervention. It began a few years ago, when we started receiving requests from the reservation parents to help them supply Christmas presents for their children. It is important to understand that the reservations in South Dakota are really equivalent to third world countries housed inside the continental United States. Unless you have ever visited the Lakota Indian reservations, you would have no way to guess at the extreme poverty and distress that many people living there experience.

For children who live in households where even food is scarce, Christmas presents a luxury that can only be wished for. These children might see kids from other families with presents, but never have hope for many of their own. This kind of situation gradually erodes a young child’s self-esteem. Our hope at the Hochoka healing Center is that through our bringing an abundance of presents and goodies into their homes, these children will feel the Creator’s love for them.

Since, one of our Hochoka Healing Center ceremonial sites is located in Hot Springs, SD, near the Pine Ridge Reservation; we receive requests for help of all kinds. But, making kids happy at Christmas has been one of our most satisfying charitable endeavors. Take a look through the photos below to enjoy beautiful, happy faces during Christmas charity deliveries that were make throughout the years.

Serving South Dakota, New Mexico, & Georgia