We’re hoping the new year has brought you health and happiness and we’re looking forward to working with all of you on this year’s projects to help kids and their families at Marty Indian School in Marty, SD, Sacred Shawl Society’s shelter and My Space Youth Center in Martin, the Wanblee Community and Bright Start, a program for babies that serves the entire Pine Ridge Reservation.
Our monthly projects won’t change however, we may have additional requests from our areas as we learn of their current or special needs. Last year we received a request from Marty Indian School for help starting a sewing program (an overwhelming success!) and we’re thrilled to say our members stepped up and supplied them with everything they needed. We know some of you have favorite things you like to make while others are willing to try a new pattern or learn a new skill, whatever you choose to do we can find someone that needs your gift. Projects are matched to the season as well as events such as back to school or Christmas parties but as long time members know, it’s perfectly acceptable to be knitting mittens in May or sewing shorts in January. Review the donation guidelines here and read the blog each month for more information about each project and current needs.
January “Warmth for Winter”
- Warm pants – Sweatpants or others with elastic waist for boys and girls 4T – 16/18 or adult small. The shelter in Martin has requested sweatpants, they can be worn for PJ’s and they fit more kids. Jeans and other styles and smaller baby sizes are welcome too. If you’re making pants choose sweatshirt fleece, polar fleece, flannel, and heavier knits.
- Warm Clothing – Long sleeve shirts, sweaters, hoodies, PJ’s, long underwear, winter coats, hats, mittens, scarves, socks,
- Boots/shoes – snow boots and sturdier shoes, all sizes.
- Blankets – Warm blankets/afghans/quilts sizes baby through double/queen and sleeping bags.
- Door/Window blankets – Many homes have leaky doors and windows or panes missing and use whatever they can to block the wind. If you have any older blankets, heavy fabric, or plastic please send.
Women at the shelter
- Warm clothing – Sweatpants or athletic type pants with elastic waist sizes S-XL especially needed. Also jeans, warm tops, coats, gloves, and scarves.
- Underwear and socks – new socks and ladies new underwear sizes 6-10 and sports type bras S-XL. Bras may be gently used, traditional styles can be sent too. Many of these women have to relinquish their clothing at the hospital if an exam is done so this is an ongoing need for the shelter.
- Dishes – plates, bowls, glasses/cups, serving dishes. Unbreakable best for kids.
- Cutlery – knives, forks, spoons, and cooking utensils such as spatulas, large spoons, can opener, etc.
- Cookware – pots and pans, pizza pan, cake pans, etc.
- Bedding – sheets, blankets/quilts/afghans, twin to queen, pillowcases, and pillows
- Linens – towels, washcloths, dishcloths, dish towels
Kimmie Clausen, shelter director, has received a grant to help some of the families leaving the shelter find new housing so the list above helps them start over. All families leaving the shelter receive a pillow/pillowcase, toiletry bag, two sets of clothing per person and a blanket if they have them.
February “Baby Month”
- Baby Clothing – sizes 0-3T. Sleepers, sleep sacks, onesies, pants/shirts, hats, coats, buntings, PJ’s and sweaters for winter. Short sleeve onesies, tops and shorts, PJ’s or sleep pants for summer.
- Blankets – crib size to toddler. Warm blankets/afghans/quilts and receiving blankets for winter, lighter ones for summer.
- Linens – towels/hooded towels and washcloths, crib or pack and play sheets, burp cloths and bibs.
- Diaper bags, etc – diaper bags or bags of comparable size, socks and booties, baby and toddler shoes, toys and books, toiletries.
- Diapers and formula – most needed diaper sizes are 2-5, any formula is acceptable, check for expiration dates. SFK buys diapers in bulk monthly so please consider donating a few dollars here – more donations means more dry babies!
Kimmie needs all the above for babies at the shelter and also for women coming to the CDC looking for help toward the end of the month when supplies run out. Jerome and Theresa can’t always make the trip to Martin for supplies so we would like to stock them as well. We’ve recently spoken to the Bright Start nurse and she’s also in need of supplies for her home visits. She does receive filled bags from Kimmie but if she doesn’t have a client in the area or Kimmie is out of town there’s a delay in receiving them so we want to ship some things directly to her. Currently Bright Start has only one nurse to cover the entire Rez but they’re hoping to add more soon. Check your closets, ask friends for their babies outgrown clothing, shop thrift stores and garage sales for baby items. Place a donation box at your church or club or hold a baby shower. Please send your donations for babies here.
March “Books and Activity Bags”
March is “Read Across America” month so let’s send books for babies through teens to all three areas we serve. Wanblee will be having an Easter party at the end of the month so books and activity bags would make ideal gifts for them. Younger kids especially like activity bags with pictures to color, puzzles, books, stuffies, etc. We have members already making bags and we’ll be sharing ideas for this project in March. Thanks to all the books you’ve donated libraries are popping up in Marty school classrooms, the youth center and shelter in Martin and we hope many more locations soon.
April/May “Summer Clothing”
- Clothing – shorts, capris, lightweight pants, leggings, short sleeve shirts, light jackets, dresses and skirts, PJ’s in sizes 4T to 16/18 or adult small. Anything under 4T can be sent too.
- Swim Suits – for Wanblee and Martin. Towels, sun screen, and sun hats as well.
- Shoes – sandals, flip-flops, canvas type or other summer shoes, new or gently used.
Women at the shelter
- Clothing – Shorts, capris, pants, shirts and light jackets in sizes S-XL. Larger plus sizes needed too.
- Shoes – Sandals, flip flops and other summer type shoes, larger sizes 9-11 needed too.
- Underwear – sizes 6-10 and sports type or other bras.
June “Bags and Bedding”
- Bags – Totes, backpacks/school bags, pencil cases, toiletry bags, duffels, diaper bags, messenger bags and purses. Make bags ahead and fill later with school supplies, Christmas gifts, toiletries, etc.
- Blankets – quilts, afghans, receiving blankets for babies through full size.
- Bedding – sheets for cribs and pack and play through queen size, pillows and pillowcases.
July/August “Back to School”
- School Supplies – paper, pens/pencils, markers, crayons, etc.
- Clothing – Pants, shirts, skirts, light jackets or hoodies, etc. in sizes 4T to 16/18 or adult small.
- Shoes – Athletic type, sturdier or waterproof especially need as most don’t have boots.
- Underwear and PJ’s – new underwear only in sizes 4T to adult small for the older kids. New or gently used girls athletic bras. PJ’s or sleep pants with t-shirt.
September/October “Warm Winter Gear”
- Outer Wear – winter coats, hoodies, fleece pullovers, sweaters, snow pants, ponchos. gloves/mittens, scarves, cowls, hats for sizes infant through adult. Lots of knitting and crocheting!
- Clothing – warm pants and shirts, sweat/fleece pants and top and/or warm PJ’s, long underwear and heavy socks, infant through adult.
- Boots – snow, fashion and work boots, waterproof or heavier shoes above the ankle ideal. Toddler through adult.
- Infant/toddler – age appropriate toys such as stuffed animals or soft dolls, puzzles, coloring books and crayons, blocks, soft books, etc.
- Kids 3-7 – dolls, trucks, stuffed animals, balls, Legos, crafts, games, stickers, coloring books and crayons/markers, drawing pad, play-doh, pillow with case
- Kids 8-12 – sports items, craft bags, art pad and pencils, adult coloring books, hair accessories, pillow with case, board games, diary or journal,
- Teens – toiletry bags, make-up bags, purses, duffel bags, books, sports equipment, jewelry, flashlight, tools, baseball caps, pillow with case, PJ’s or pajama pants.
We’ll use November to get our gifts purchased or finished and ready to mail after Thanksgiving and before parties start in December. Most of these can be purchased or worked on throughout the year. Keep costs down by shopping seasonal sales and clearance events at your favorite store, ask your church, club and family to help and don’t forget to shop summer garage sales.
We’re often asked what’s the greatest need on the Rez, and we say “everything”! The top two are undoubtedly food and propane and we encourage you to donate to programs that help with those needs including our SFK fund. Our Top Ten list are goods that are always needed and often in short supply. If you want to help and are not sure what to send anything from this list works. Winter coats, clothing and boots are seasonal and needed October through April. All areas have some storage if you want to send earlier but if you’re shipping to Marty Indian School wait until the new school year begins in August.
TOP TEN LIST
Shoes and Boots
Socks and Underwear
Blankets and Sheets
Diapers and Formula
Shipping information can be found here. Charitable deduction forms can be printed from the links on that page if needed. Complete the form, include with a SASE in your box and a note to please sign and return. If you’re requesting a thank you note please include a SASE to offset costs that can’t afford or better yet send a note with your email address. If sending donations online please check the “gift” box on the form and include your name and address so the recipient knows who their donor is and print a receipt for tax purposes if needed. We suggest tracking your shipments online, most companies are free and if there’s a small charge it’s well worth the little extra to know your package arrived safe and into the hands of those who need it. Some companies give a discount for preparing shipments online (FedEx), shipping larger and heavier boxes (check weight and size limits) is always more economical than sending several smaller boxes to the same destination.
If you would like to help provide nutritious food for kids, diapers and formula for babies and help with emergency needs please consider making a monthly or one time tax deductible donation to our Sew For Kids Fund at Lakota Friends Circle, our “mother” group and a 501c 3 non profit. We’re currently sending formula and diapers to Kimmie, $100 monthly gift card to buy perishable food for the My Space Youth Center in Martin and incontinent needs for elders in Wanblee. Please, help us help more people, no donations is too small!
We invite you to join us on our Facebook group Sew For Kids Volunteers where you’ll meet many talented and friendly people and have lots of fun too. This is our working group so if you want to share patterns, sewing tips, sales alerts, or just gab this is the place you want to be. For something less active try our Facebook group Sew For Kids. We partner with other groups – Ravelry group “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation”, charity group Halfknits, Yahoo group Pine Ridge Elders and welcome other groups and churches to join with us as well. Don’t sew, don’t worry we still need you! Don’t let that word “sew” in our name fool you, we have plenty of knitters, crocheters and crafters in our group so grab your needles, hooks and glue guns and join us!
Thanks so much to members of SFK and all our partner groups for your continuing support of kids and their families on the Rez!