Jerome High Horse, Lakota Friends Circle (LFC) program manager, has spent much of this summer making trips to Colorado to pick up donated food from the non-profit “We Don’t Waste” and bringing it back to Wanblee for distribution to families in need. Volunteers from the community sort and pack the food into boxes (100 plus usually) for pickup by families and elders in town and the surrounding areas which is estimated to include about 200 children. Those lacking transportation will have their food delivered by Jerome or one of his volunteers. We’re happy to report one of the recipients of a food box is the Emergency Foster Care Home in Porcupine. Other food donations for the area come from Running Strong at Thanksgiving and Christmas and occasionally on the monthly NAHA trucks.
Although the food is donated free of charge, LFC provides funding for fuel and some of the maintenance for Jerome’s trucks which are used for pick up and delivery. Most of these funds comes from the generous donations of SFK members, partner group “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation” and other donors supporting LFC. Without your help Jerome would have to turn down most of the offers of donated food because the cost of running large trucks is just too expensive for the community. LFC just held a successful fundraiser to repair the transmission on one of his trucks and purchase new tires for the trailer he uses to haul food. Jerome’s trucks really take a beating with all the miles he drives and the many vehicles he pulls out of snow drifts every winter or flood waters which happened this past spring. Soon he’ll be replacing the engine in one of his trucks as it’s gone nearly 200,000 miles and is no longer dependable and there’s always insurance to pay for so we try to help him out whenever possible. We can’t thank you enough for your generous contributions that keep the trucks rolling and the food coming in for so many children and their families on the Rez. School is starting soon so families will have some relief in their food budget when their children begin eating two meals a day at school.
We mentioned in a blog last fall the tribe offered Jerome five trailers that were originally used to house oil workers in North Dakota but they had to be moved from the town of Pine Ridge at his expense. LFC has been trying to find funding to move them but the original cost of $4500 per trailer was one they couldn’t afford and while looking for an alternative mover the tribe gave two of them to families that lost their homes in the floods so now there are only three available. Although we didn’t do a formal fundraiser some generous people read about the trailers last year and wanted to help so LFC now has funds to move a trailer. It’s $2000 to move and $500 to put on the deck with stairs or a ramp. A big thanks to Sandy and Bill Volk, Frances Bourdon, Janet Schnurlein and Ruth Gruel for their donations to move the first trailer, LFC will need our help in raising funds to move the second and third trailer and to add decking, stairs or ramp and skirting for all the trailers. Jerome has experienced volunteers ready to get the trailers functional and weatherized once in place all they need is the materials to begin working. The land has been provided and is ready, families are required to apply to the tribe for water and electrical service but the trailers have to be in place first. These trailers are in great condition, fully furnished and insulated and are not the typical trailer most families buy due to their limited resources so we really hope we don’t lose the third trailer. All children deserve to have a nice, safe home to grow up in and although we can’t help everyone we do have a chance to help three families. LFC, with your help, has rehabbed homes in the past for veterans and elders and a family who lost their home in a fire.
Below is the story the of the first family to receive the trailer we’ve raised funds for. Jerome chose this family because they’re always willing to volunteer to help their community in times of need, now they need to ask for help. Jerome has a family in mind for the second and third trailer but they won’t be notified until we have raised the funds because we don’t want to make a promise we can’t keep.
To: Lakota Friends Circle Re: Trailer house – We are a family of 8, we currently have our own trailer house. It is desperately in need of a lot of repairs. This past harsh winter conditions, really did a lot of damage, from the heavy snow, high winds and flooding. The electricity in half of the kitchen, half of the living room, main bathroom, and 2 bedrooms doesn’t have electricity. The roof has started to leak from our living room to the main bathroom. The house became unleveled, from our living room, to the whole half of our house, sits a little sideways. The floor began to rot away by our main entrance door, causing the floor to fall apart. We’ve worked very hard to purchase our home and to maintain it. We’ve done the repairs ourselves. But due to a recent health condition, I lost my job, I’m not able to find employment right now, because I’m still in recovery from treatments for my health. My wife is the only one employed right now. We’ve never had a house from OST housing authority, we’ve always rented, and saved and saved and finally 7 years ago, we bought and paid for our current home in full. Renovating and upgrading it ourselves. But physically and financially we cannot continue to repair our home anymore. We did apply for assistance through FEMA, after all the paperwork, and inspection of our home, we were “not qualified” and denied help. There’s too much work that needs to be done, and it’s very hard for us to have to admit, that we are not capable of doing it anymore. We desperately need a new home and we would be so grateful!! Thank you!
Family #2 This is the next person who needs a trailer. We will post the third family in need once we have funds. We are looking for grants as well.
Many thanks again to Bill, Sandy, Frances, Janet and Ruth for making it possible for this first family to have a decent home. If you would like to make a donation for moving the other trailers please use this link and type “moving the trailers” in the comments box. Any donation is welcome, many small donations add up very quickly and could give another family a decent place to call home. We’ll share the third family’s story with you if we can raise the funding. We need to move them or the tribe will be give to families in other areas. LFC wants to help the needy families in the Wanblee area.
Although this is a Lakota Friends Circle project we like to keep our members updated about their news and fundraisers as they’re also frequent donors to their programs. Sew For Kids is mainly a sewing/crafting group but we partner with LFC on many projects and are under the umbrella of their organization. Our “Sew For Kids Fund” is at LFC and the monies are used to purchase food, diapers, formula, toiletries and other critical needs for the areas we serve. Together with LFC, “For the Children of PRR” and other partner groups we’ve provided over $30,000 in goods to these areas, an accomplishment everyone should be proud of.
Thank you from Sew For Kids for your generosity and continued support.
Here are the photos of the trailers.