Local woman drives to South Dakota several times a year with a car full of donations

Native American tribe gets the supplies they need

EVERGREEN, Colo. - As we give thanks this holiday season, a local volunteer will make the drive to South Dakota. She is making sure her adopted family has enough to eat on Thanksgiving.

7Everyday Hero Kate Mondragon is of German heritage, but she has been adopted by the Lakota Sioux of South Dakota.

The tribe has a storied history, but their current economic struggle is also well documented.

When Mondragon first witnessed the poverty at the tribe's Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota she stepped in.

"I thought, I have to do something.  I have got to help somehow," said Mondragon.

The Lakota Sioux call Mondragon Shante Wasti Wia which means "good hearted woman."

For the last 10 years she has delivered Thanksgiving food baskets to the reservation.

"If I see a bunch of kids and a grandma outside I say: 'Here, want a turkey and a food box?' and go on," said Mondragon.

Mondragon has convinced her co-workers at the ReMax office in Evergreen to help her collect food so people on the reservation don't go hungry.

"It's very touching to have her come back tell us what we give or donate -- how it affects the people.  It's very nice," said Jennifer Trinco, a worker at ReMax.

The project has grown enough that Mondragon can deliver enough food to help 50 households each year.

"In the past it was fitting in the back of a car, then last year I remember her bringing the cargo trailer up and trying to decide if her car would tow it or not," said Andrew McWilliams, Managing Broker, ReMax of Evergreen.

Kate Mondragon's only pay for making that drive to South Dakota is the gratitude of the people living there.

"One  woman said: 'I can't believe people remembered us.'"  And I replied: "Of course we remember you," said Mondragon.