Spring Updates for SFK Areas We Help

Sew For Kids members are busy sewing and/or purchasing summer clothing this month mainly for ages 0-12 but some of those children will need larger sizes, 16-18 or even S/M adults.  Garage sales and thrift stores are always great places to shop as are your family’s closets.  Ask friends and church members if they have any clothing in good condition they would be willing to donate to kids in need.  Clothing needs are shorts, short sleeve shirts, tank tops, summer dresses, light jackets, windbreakers, underwear, socks and shoes. Some of these items can be worn into the early days of school in the Fall as it starts mid August and with climate change , it seems to  stay warmer longer. A  long sleeve t -shirt or leggings under a dress,  work for the colder months. Shorts can be used for gym class in the Fall  if held indoors. And of course items can be layered to give more warmth in the early Fall. Summer pj’s are also welcome but t-shirts and shorts or even underwear can work as well.  Bathing suits are always appreciated as are beach or bath towels.  Kids are really hard on their shoes especially on the unpaved roads and rough terrain on parts of the Rez.  Not having a decent pair of shoes means they can’t participate in summer activities such as sports, community field trips, Pow Wows, etc.  Athletic shoes, flip flops, and sandals are all good choices but all shoes work.  Kids that have to wear shoes with holes in them are sometimes made fun of by others which is something we want to prevent.  Being a kid can be tough!  Babies need sunsuits, short sleeved onesies or shirts, and shorts or diaper covers.  Lightweight sleep sacks are always appreciated for babies 0-12 months.  All kids can use a sunhat and sunscreen and light blankets are welcome for all ages.  

 Marty Indian School

The school year will be ending for Marty on May 20 but classes will soon be in session once summer school begins in June. They are having a graduation party for the kids with jump houses and some snacks provided by funds from SFK’s doll program. Members dress dolls for Christmas gifts every year and some of them sew extra outfits that other members can purchase for a donation to the SFK fund through Lakota Friends Circle.  Kids will attend summer school in June as their reading scores have suffered since the pandemic closed in person learning at most schools.  It won’t be all work and no play, teachers have some fun activities planned for afternoons.  

We’ve been working with the school to get the snack program working better, students are now getting snacks 3 times a week from the school and from LFC the other 2 days.  We’re trying to choose snacks with a higher fat and protein content so kids will feel full longer. Growing minds and bodies need good nutrition to develop fully.  Thanks to everyone that has so generously donated funding to the snack program and/or added snack items to your boxes of donations.  Room parents and SFK members have donated a filled toiletry bag and a new towel for each student as a year end gift.  Many homes don’t have towels and toiletries are scarce depending on the family’s resources so the kids will be so excited to receive this thoughtful gift.  

Two Marty teachers, Peggy J and Deb H, have been reorganizing the Feather Store so we have a better idea of their needs and sizes.  Students shop for clothing, toys, school supplies, toiletries, Christmas gifts, etc that have been donated by generous SFK members.   Current needs for the Feather Store are shorts, tops, dresses and summer shoes for boys and girls in sizes 6-18 and adults S/M.  Shoe sizes to fit students K-5 and adults up to size 10.   

Wolf Creek School

Wolf Creek school is located on Pine Ridge Reservation.  This is the first year SFK members have volunteered as room parents for the 4 classes of the grade 5 class.  These ladies provided school supplies, blankets, hats, mittens, books, etc with some help from other SFK members and from the groups Halfknits and Pine Ridge Elders.  Room parents recently sent each of their students a filled toiletry bag and sent outside toys and balls for all students.  Many thanks to all the room parents for helping students and teachers of the fifth grade this year.  Students at this school are also behind in their reading and math skills due to school closures during the pandemic.   

Rosebud Elementary School 

Is located on Rosebud Reservation which is just south of Pine Ridge Reservation in SD.  SFK partners with other organizations to help all areas but our partner “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud” have their own projects, one being Rosebud Elementary School’s 300 students.  Their members provide clothing, shoes, school supplies and many other items throughout the school year.  In the past few months they’ve sent Valentines, school supplies, Easter items and summer clothing.  And everyone one of the 300 kids gets a Christmas package as do the teachers. 

 Ruby’s Homeless Program 

This program is another project of “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud”.  Ruby is an elder on Pine Ridge who helps feed and clothe the homeless.  She prepares meals twice a week in her small kitchen for people in need.   The group recently sent funding to repair the floor in her trailer that was in much need of repair.  The group also provides funds to purchase food and toiletries which Ruby recently used to cook an Easter dinner for them.  Ruby was recently honored by the tribe in recognition for all her hard work ministering to the needs of the homeless population.   She is nearing 80 years old and has some health issues so is not sure how much longer she’ll be able to continue, but she vows to keep going as long as she can..      

 Wild Horse Butte CDC and Sacred Shawl

The Director of the Wild Horse Butte/Sacred Shawl has resigned so they’re looking for a replacement.  Maria, our contact for both programs, is still in the office and able to let us know their needs.  She said right now they need summer clothing and shoes for infants through age 12, toiletries for kids and adults (hotel sizes are fine) and towels, new or used in good condition . They’re hoping to have a swimming program like they’ve had in past years but no final decision has been made.  We will post a list of needs if the program is approved. 

They are having the Isnati or Coming of Age ceremony for the girls and a comparable ceremony for the young men this summer.  The young men will go on a buffalo hunt and learn how to process the animal and make traditional crafts from the bones and hide.  There is a meat processing facility on the Rez which will do the actual butchering. 

The Rez is finally opening up a bit so people are starting to get together again, hopefully that will continue and Covid stays away.  The baby program is working well, they do have clothing for ages 0-3 but are always in need of formula, wipes, baby toiletries, diapers in size 4-7, the smaller sizes are provided by other sources.  Lakota Friends Circle has several items on auto ship for them including diapers, laundry detergent, wipes, etc but it’s not possible to cover all their needs so your donations are always welcomed.  Public Health is no longer making home visits to check up on children and vaccinate them so parents must come into the clinic to get those services.  Wild Horse Butte plans to ask for a nurse to work with them at their office where women can bring their children for vaccinations and at the same time pick up any baby supplies they need so they only have to make one stop.  WIC has only been open once a month so families aren’t getting very much help from that program so anything you donate to the baby program is badly needed and much appreciated!  

Lakota Friends Circle and partner group For the Children of PRR and Rosebud bought a 21 cubic foot freezer for the Sacred Shawl women’s shelter.  The new freezer will allow them to store bulk meat for the shelter’s use and others in the community.  The freezer also came in handy the other day when their refrigerator went on the blink and had to be repaired.  Food from that freezer was moved to the big freezer and saved from spoilage.  The shelter has been filled to capacity over the last few months.  When clients leave they’re allowed to take a towel, pillow, blanket and sheets if they have extra as they don’t have any of those items at home.  These items need to be continually replaced as new clients arrive so please donate any of those items if you can.  Each child arriving with their mother receives a blanket and stuffed animal (if they have them) which can provide a lot of comfort to a traumatized child.  The shelter also needs summer clothing for their kids.  “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud” and SFK are currently working on those needs but your donations are needed as well.    

White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society

 Is a shelter on Rosebud Reservation providing safe housing for abused women and men.  They can serve up to 40 clients at a time.  They can always use donations of clothing, blankets, toiletries, diapers and wipes, baby formula, toys, books and crafts.  Our partner group “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud” and SFK have been busy sending these and many other needs the past few weeks.  Please visit their sites to see what they’ve been working on.  

Bright Start, Pine Ridge and RST Maternal and Child Health, Rosebud 

Both are baby programs that were set up to monitor women during their pregnancies and until their babies are 2 years old.  Both programs are always in need of clothing (up to size 4 as babies are large), diapers, wipes, diaper cream, diaper bags, backpacks, formula, toiletries for babies and adults.  Moms also love tea, books and crafts and sippy cups, baby books and toys for their little ones.  LFC helps (via your donations) by sending auto shipments of diapers and other needs on a monthly basis.  

Maggie’s House

Was scheduled to open May 1 but 3 staff members lost relatives so there are a lot of funerals to attend.  The new opening date is set for June 1.  They recently installed the new 21 cubic foot freezer paid for with funds donated by a SFK member.  They are so pleased with this generous gift as they too can store large amounts of meat for use by clients and those in the community if needs arise.  We’re crossing our fingers that the opening is not delayed again as there are many people that need their services.  Those in need are getting help but it is so much better to have permanent housing instead of living in a tent.  Maggie’s House doesn’t need anything at the moment as SFK and partner groups have outfitted them well and they have enough to get the program going.  We will let you know of any future needs.    

Children in Need of Care 

The foster home has been busy, kids come and go with some staying longer because they have no place to go.  Some of the reasons may be parents haven’t met the guidelines to regain custody of their child or a shortage of permanent foster homes for children on the Rez.  There are currently 7 children ranging in age from 2 months to age 13 living at the home.

Barb and her staff really appreciate everything we’ve donated to them. The Easter baskets were a big hit thanks to the donors on this group.  They also loved the snacks you sent as well as those sent through LFC from your monetary donations.  Your donations also make possible the monthly shipments of diapers, wipes, formula, laundry detergent and the $100 monthly gift card to purchase perishable foods like milk, eggs, bread and butter from their local grocery.   

The foster home finally has reliable workers which has made Director Barb’s job much easier. The kids are getting excellent care and they keep the home and the kids clean so there are no disease outbreaks.  One of the kids calls a staffer mommy. They were able to take the kids on an outing to Hot Springs where they played on the swings at the park and visited the dam. Maybe next time they visit it will be warmer and they can swim.  The weather has been unpredictable, hot one day and freezing the next.  The kids will need summer clothing but we’re waiting for them to check their storage bins and let us know sizes needed. We will update the blog when we have the list We’re also waiting to see if the group from Colorado finishes the playground they started last year before we post a list of needs.  They also need a shed to store items and LFC is looking into the cost and sizes of containers available on the Rez.

Well that concludes our updates for now.  Hopefully when school is out for the summer kids will be out playing with friends, attending Pow Wows and Sundances and taking part in all the activities of summer with their families.  Summer can be an added burden on the family income especially this year with inflation causing rising prices for food and gas.  

Many thanks to all our generous donors and to the members of SFK, “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud”, Halfknits, and Pine Ridge Elders and of course Lakota Friends Circle.  Please visit individual websites to see more of the wonderful work each group does and they’re always welcoming new members. SFK 2022 project list is here. You can also find our working facebook group “Sew For Kids Volunteers” here and the LFC Facebook page here . If you want to mail items to these areas, check out “Where to Send ” here.

 Thanks from Sew For Kids

Rez Updates May 2022

Sew For Kids members are busy sewing and/or purchasing summer clothing this month, mainly for ages 0-12, but some of those children will need larger sizes, 16-18 or even S/M adults.  Garage sales and thrift stores are always great places to shop as are your family’s closets.  Ask friends and church members if they have any clothing in good condition they would be willing to donate to kids in need.  Clothing needs are shorts, short sleeve shirts, tank tops, summer dresses, light jackets, windbreakers, underwear, socks and shoes.  Summer pj’s are also welcome but t-shirts and shorts or even underwear can work as well.  Bathing suits are always appreciated as are beach or bath towels.  Kids are really hard on their shoes especially on the unpaved roads and rough terrain on parts of the Rez.  Not having a decent pair of shoes means they can’t participate in summer activities such as sports, community field trips, Pow Wows, etc.  Athletic shoes, flip flops, and sandals are all good choices but all shoes work.  Kids that have to wear shoes with holes in them are sometimes made fun of by others which is something we want to prevent.  Being a kid can be tough!  Babies need sun suits, short sleeved onesies or shirts, and shorts or diaper covers.  Lightweight sleep sacks are always appreciated for babies 0-12 months.  All kids can use a sunhat and sunscreen and light blankets are welcome too.  

Marty Indian School

The school year will be ending for Marty on May 20 but classes will soon be in session once summer school begins in June. They are having a graduation party for the kids with jump houses and some snacks provided by funds from SFK’s doll program. Members dress dolls for Christmas gifts every year and some of them sew extra outfits that other members can purchase for a donation to the SFK fund through Lakota Friends Circle.  Kids will attend summer school in June as their reading scores have suffered since the pandemic closed in person learning at most schools.  It won’t be all work and no play, teachers have some fun activities planned for afternoons.  

We’ve been working with the school to get the snack program working better, students are now getting snacks 3 times a week from the school and from LFC the other 2 days.  We’re trying to choose snacks with a higher fat and protein content so kids will feel full longer. Growing minds and bodies need good nutrition to develop fully.  Thanks to everyone that has so generously donated funding to the snack program and/or added snack items to your boxes of donations.  Room parents and SFK members have donated a filled toiletry bag and a new towel for each student as a year end gift.  Many homes don’t have towels and toiletries are scarce depending on the family’s resources so the kids will be so excited to receive this thoughtful gift.  

Two Marty teachers, Peggy J and Deb H, have been reorganizing the Feather Store so we have a better idea of their needs and sizes.  Students shop for clothing, toys, school supplies, toiletries, Christmas gifts, etc that have been donated by generous SFK members.   Current needs for the Feather Store are shorts, tops, dresses and summer shoes for boys and girls in sizes 6-18 and adults S/M.  Shoe sizes to fit students K-5 and adults up to size 10.   

Wolf Creek School

Wolf Creek school is located on Pine Ridge Reservation.  This is the first year SFK members have volunteered as room parents for the 4 classes of the grade 5 class.  These ladies provided school supplies, blankets, hats, mittens, books, etc with some help from other SFK members and from the groups Halfknits and Pine Ridge Elders.  Room parents recently sent each of their students a filled toiletry bag and sent outside toys and balls for all students.  Many thanks to all the room parents for helping students and teachers of the fifth grade this year.  Students at this school are also behind in their reading and math skills due to school closures during the pandemic.   

Rosebud Elementary School 

The school is located on Rosebud Reservation which is just south of Pine Ridge Reservation in SD.  SFK partners with other organizations to help all areas but our partner “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud” have their own projects, one being Rosebud Elementary School’s 300 students.  Their members provide clothing, shoes, school supplies and many other items throughout the school year.  In the past few months they’ve sent Valentines, school supplies, Easter items and summer clothing.  

Ruby’s Homeless Program 

This program is another project of “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud”.  Ruby is an elder on Pine Ridge who helps feed and clothe the homeless.  She prepares meals twice a week in her small kitchen for people in need.   The group recently sent funding to repair the floor in her trailer that was in much need of repair.  The group also provides funds to purchase food and toiletries which Ruby recently used to cook an Easter dinner for them.  Ruby was recently honored by the tribe in recognition for all her hard work ministering to the needs of the homeless population.   She is nearing 80 years old and has some health issues so is not sure how much longer she’ll be able to continue, but she vows to keep going as long as she can..      

 Wild Horse Butte CDC and Sacred Shawl

The Director of the Wild Horse Butte/Sacred Shawl has resigned so they’re looking for a replacement.  Maria, our contact for both programs, is still in the office and able to let us know their needs.  She said right now they need summer clothing and shoes for infants through age 12, toiletries for kids and adults (hotel sizes are fine) and towels, new or used in good condition . They’re hoping to have a swimming program like they’ve had in past years but no final decision has been made.  We will post a list of needs if the program is approved. 

They are having the Isnati or coming of age ceremony for the girls and a comparable ceremony for the young men this summer.  The young men will go on a buffalo hunt and learn how to process the animal and make traditional crafts from the bones and hide.  There is a meat processing facility on the Rez which will do the actual butchering. 

The Rez is finally opening up a bit so people are starting to get together again, hopefully that will continue and Covid stays away.  The baby program is working well, they do have clothing for ages 0-3 but are always in need of formula, wipes, baby toiletries, diapers in size 4-7, the smaller sizes are provided by other sources.  Lakota Friends Circle has several items on auto ship for them including diapers, laundry detergent, wipes, etc but it’s not possible to cover all their needs so your donations are always welcomed.  Public Health is no longer making home visits to check up on children and vaccinate them so parents must come into the clinic to get those services.  Wild Horse Butte plans to ask for a nurse to work with them at their office where women can bring their children for vaccinations and at the same time pick up any baby supplies they need so they only have to make one stop.  WIC has only been open once a month so families aren’t getting very much help from that program so anything you donate to the baby program is badly needed and much appreciated!  

Lakota Friends Circle and partner group For the Children of PRR and Rosebud bought a 21 cubic foot freezer for the Sacred Shawl women’s shelter.  The new freezer will allow them to store bulk meat for the shelter’s use and others in the community.  The freezer also came in handy the other day when their refrigerator went on the blink and had to be repaired.  Food from that freezer was moved to the big freezer and saved from spoilage.  The shelter has been filled to capacity over the last few months.  When clients leave they’re allowed to take a towel, pillow, blanket and sheets if they have extra as they don’t have any of those items at home.  These items need to be continually replaced as new clients arrive so please donate any of those items if you can.  Each child arriving with their mother receives a blanket and stuffed animal (if they have them) which can provide a lot of comfort to a traumatized child.  The shelter also needs summer clothing for their kids.  “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud” and SFK are currently working on those needs but your donations are needed as well.    

White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society

 Is a shelter on Rosebud Reservation providing safe housing for abused women and men.  They can serve up to 40 clients at a time.  They can always use donations of clothing, blankets, toiletries, diapers and wipes, baby formula, toys, books and crafts.  Our partner group “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud” and SFK have been busy sending these and many other needs the past few weeks.  Please visit their sites to see what they’ve been working on.  

Bright Start, Pine Ridge and RST Maternal and Child Health, Rosebud 

Bright Start and RST Maternal and Child Health are baby programs that were set up to monitor women during their pregnancies and until their babies are 2 years old.  Both programs are always in need of clothing (up to size 4 as babies are large), diapers, wipes, diaper cream, diaper bags, backpacks, formula, toiletries for babies and adults.  Moms also love tea, books and crafts and sippy cups, baby books and toys for their little ones.  LFC helps (via your donations) by sending auto shipments of diapers and other needs on a monthly basis.  

Maggie’s House

Maggie’s House was scheduled to open May 1 but 3 staff members lost relatives so there are a lot of funerals to attend.  The new opening date is set for June 1.  They recently installed the new 21 cubic foot freezer paid for with funds donated by a SFK member.  They are so pleased with this generous gift as they too can store large amounts of meat for use by clients and those in the community if needs arise.  We’re crossing our fingers that the opening is not delayed again as there are many people that need their services.  Those in need are getting help but it is so much better to have permanent housing instead of living in a tent.  Maggie’s House doesn’t need anything at the moment as SFK and partner groups have outfitted them well and they have enough to get the program going.  We will let you know of any future needs.    

Children in Need of Care 

The foster home has been busy, kids come and go with some staying longer because they have no place to go.  Some of the reasons may be parents haven’t met the guidelines to regain custody of their child or a shortage of permanent foster homes for children on the Rez.  There are currently 7 children ranging in age from 2 months to age 13 living at the home.

Barb and her staff really appreciate everything we’ve donated to them. The Easter baskets were a big hit thanks to the donors on this group.  They also loved the snacks you sent as well as those sent through LFC from your monetary donations.  Your donations also make possible the monthly shipments of diapers, wipes, formula, laundry detergent and the $100 monthly gift card to purchase perishable foods like milk, eggs, bread and butter from their local grocery.   

The foster home finally has reliable workers which has made Director Barb’s job much easier. The kids are getting excellent care and they keep the home and the kids clean so there are no disease outbreaks.  One of the kids calls a staffer mommy. They were able to take the kids on an outing to Hot Springs where they played on the swings at the park and visited the dam. Maybe next time they visit it will be warmer and they can swim.  The weather has been unpredictable, hot one day and freezing the next.  The kids will need summer clothing but we’re waiting for them to check their storage bins and let us know sizes needed. We’re also waiting to see if the group from Colorado finishes the playground they started last year before we post a list of needs.  

Well that concludes our updates for now.  Hopefully when school is out for the summer kids will be out playing with friends, attending Pow Wows and Sundances and taking part in all the activities of summer with their families.  Summer can be an added burden on the family income especially this year with inflation causing rising prices for food and gas.  

Many thanks to all our generous donors and to the members of Sew For Kids, “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud”, Halfknits, and Pine Ridge Elders and of course Lakota Friends Circle.  Please visit individual websites to see more of the wonderful work each group does and they’re always welcoming new members! Sew for Kids 2022 project list is here.

 Thanks from Sew For Kids

2021 Year End Review

Happy New Year and best wishes to all for a happy, healthy 2022!  We’re hoping this year is better than the last!!  All the problems we encountered last year didn’t deter us from accomplishing our monthly project goals or responding to special needs from our donation areas. Although the virus was an issue sometimes forcing schools to operate virtually or organizations to close temporarily, most of our donation areas remained open as they were classified as essential services. Some may have had to implement new safety protocols or reduce hours but they were still able to help those in need using their services.  

SFK and partner groups, Halfknits, For the Children of Pine Ridge and Rosebud, and Pine Ridge Elders, many accomplishments last year were only made possible because of the generosity and dedication of the loyal members of these groups (and sometimes their husbands).  Members made or purchased blankets, afghans, quilts, hats, mittens/gloves, scarves, coats, shoes and boots, pajamas, pants and shorts, dresses and skirts, pillowcases, tote bags, toiletry bags, book bags and diaper bags, toys and so many other things that are listed on the many spreadsheets on our Facebook page.  

We want to give a BIG thank you to all the members participating in the annual doll program at SFK this year and to Becky W for taking the reins from founder, Penny N and continuing the wonderful program she started. It’s truly a labor of love for each member that works on their special doll or bear creating the perfect wardrobe for them that’s sure to thrill the lucky girl or boy receiving their gift. Members work on their projects throughout the year in addition to sewing “stuffies” that are given to Head Start students and babies and toddlers in the various baby programs. 

Your many accomplishments are listed below  

Marty Indian School

The 2020/21 school year began with virtual learning due to the pandemic, students returned to the classroom in March 2021 only to be released for summer break 2 months later. Teachers provided learning packets for each student to work on at home, but unfortunately when tested at the beginning of this school year scores in reading and math had dropped.  Our room parent program was operating and volunteers were doing the best they could but it wasn’t easy to provide help without students in the classroom. The kids did attend summer school to help make up for lost time in the classroom . Kids had learning time in the morning and fun time in the afternoon. It kept the kids busy , they got fed and they hopefully did catch up on some of the skills they lost.

The current school year began with students in school with each class K-5 having 2 room parents.   They are providing needs as identified by their teachers and for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas.  Some may send things for other special days such as Valentines Day, Read Across America Day, Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc.  Room parents also help provide snacks for their class a couple of times a week. LFC also has a fund to help classes on those 2 days . The school provides snacks the other 3 days and the school has a fund that provides snacks for testing time and special parties like Christmas, at least year they do.

Other members of SFK helped out the room parents by sending donations to the Feather Store so students could get some of the things they needed there. Students shop in the store and pay for their items with feathers they’ve earned by demonstrating their Lakota values, although students are never denied anything they need because they don’t have enough feathers. At the beginning of the school year we made sure all students had school supplies, clothing and shoes and when cold weather began they were given warm blankets, hats, mittens, and coats that were either sent to their classroom or to the Feather Store. Kids were also able to shop for Christmas gifts for their family members in the Feather Store which they love to do.

One of our SFK members and her niece purchased shirts for the Reading Program and the new library at Marty Indian school. Other members machine embroidered canvas tote bags with “READ” for students to carry their books in when making their weekly visit to the library. Thanks ladies for your special gifts!

Wolf Creek Grade 5 Class

This year SFK provided 2 room parents for the 4 grade 5 classes at Wolf Creek School in Pine Ridge. Room parents provided school supplies, blankets, books, and other members from SFK, Halfknits and the Pine Ridge Elders group helped provide hats, mittens, blankets, toiletry bags, etc.

Children in Need of Care Facility ( formerly Gather our Children Home)

This home serves abused and neglected children ages 0-12 and is the only facility available on the Rez to place these children other than a family home. Foster homes on the Rez are hard to find but are preferable to those off the Rez where children are separated from family and their culture. The foster home has only been able to stay open because of the support SFK, partner groups and LFC has provided. All of us helped by responding to their needs whether it was by sewing, knitting, buying goods or donating money. One of our SFK members made a large donation through LFC that was used to purchase a front loading washer and dryer, new mattresses, pillows, bookshelves, and pantry shelves. Monthly donors to our baby program enabled us to purchase formula, baby wipes, diapers, and diaper cream. Some donors helped with the phone bill, propane, food or with fuel purchases to get employees to work or children to appointments and in one case to the hospital for surgery. You donated books, clothing, toiletries, toys, dolls and bears, blankets, pillowcases, linens, towels, snacks and many other things. Your donations have kept their doors open!

Grants are being applied for which will help their financial problems but they needed our immediate help to remain open. They do receive $17 per child per day which helps pay employee salaries. They also received a grant from the CARES act they’re hoping to use for housing for some of the homeless parents so they can regain custody of their children. Parenting classes are planned for the future as that is another requirement for custody as is having a job and/or attending school so they’re eligible for food stamps.

Maggie’s House 

Serves youth ages 17-24 and occasionally a baby if both parents are clients. They have 6 rooms and can accept up to 12 clients, there’s also a cultural room and a sewing room. From your donations to LFC they purchased 3 queen beds, 3 bunk beds, 5 dressers and 5 lamps. A SFK member donated funds for a freezer, microwave, and an iron and ironing board. From a rural South Dakota grant from SD Gives Day they were able to purchase a new stove and refrigerator. Another donor funded the purchase of pots and pans, cutlery, dishes and bakeware. Another SFK donor funded the purchase of fruit trees for their large garden and a computer for clients to use as soon as they open The home has a washer, dryer and dishwasher that is in good working condition. Other members of SFK and partner groups sent sheets, towels, blankets, pillows, clothing, cleaning supplies, toiletries, laundry equipment, sewing and beading supplies and school supplies.

The center has been helping the homeless youth using funds from a CARES grant. They provide food, clothing and toiletries at the tent site in Pine Ridge where they are staying. Maggie’s House plans to open as soon as the virus permits. They already have 9 of the 12 youth chosen (some of them prenatal) and the staff has been getting them set up for school, applying for food stamps and medicaid, filling out job applications and getting their tribal papers in order. Clients need to have a job to pay their $150 monthly rent that helps pay their share of heat and utilities. Those without a job can work off their bill by doing odd jobs around the home. Clients will purchase and prepare their own food. Budgeting classes will teach clients how to manage their money, they’ll also learn to prepare their traditional foods in cooking class. There is a large garden on site so they’ll learn gardening skills and have access to fresh vegetables to supplement their food budget. Many clients will likely stay the maximum time of 22 months with each setting their own goals and working pace.

The long term goal for the center is to build up to 6 small houses on the property so clients can transition to them before finally being on their own, a grant will be applied for to accomplish this goal. Many of the clients are youth who aged out of the foster system, lived in a dysfunctional home or dropped out of school and took to the streets where they began using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with their problems. Some were trafficked but found their way back to the Rez with the help of organizations helping human trafficking victims such as Maggies House. Clients have to be ready to turn their lives around when they come to the house. Those deciding to further their education and attend college or trade school may be eligible for a LFC scholarship. They’re delighted to be working with us and the Director has promised a virtual tour of Maggie’s House as soon as they have everything set up. Their motto is “A Helping Hand Up Not A Hand Out”.

White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society

WBCWS is a facility serving women, their children and men who are victims of domestic abuse on Rosebud Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. They were founded in 1977 and serve a large part of the state as well as parts of North Dakota and Nebraska. They provide educational classes and services to the community as well as their clients. Many employees at the center have been victims of abuse or sex trafficking themselves so know what clients are going through when they come asking for help. The facility has 40 beds and hotel rooms for abused men and women with boys aged 15 or over. They also have trailers for any overflow or for isolation during Covid. Transportation is provided to get kids to school and families to any court or medical appointments. SFK and partner group members sent many boxes last year containing books, toys, clothing, school supplies, bedding, quilting and beading supplies, toiletries, blankets, food and Christmas gifts to the shelter. Sacred Shawl’s shelter in Martin works with WBCWS providing housing for each others clients when their facilities are full.  

 Sacred Shawl Society 

Is a shelter located in Martin serving women and their children who have experienced domestic violence or abuse, are homeless or have been trafficked. We have been helping the shelter since their opening but did take suspend service when the Director left unexpectedly. They went through a year of instability but now have a new director, who is also the Director of Wild Horse Butte CDC, and are back operating with the original staff members. Members from all groups help with clothing needs, bedding, towels, kitchen needs, food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, toys, books, crafts, etc. For The Children of Pine Ridge and Rosebud group members recently purchased a freezer for the shelter through their donations to LFC. When clients leave they try to provide them with a pillow, blanket, clothing, personal care items and household items if they have them.

Wild Horse Butte CDC

Wild Horse Butte CDC is a nonprofit committed to providing a better quality of life to the 2,500 members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in the LaCreek district of Pine Ridge Reservation. Our group members help the youth in the community by providing seasonal clothing, craft supplies, school supplies, blankets, coats and accessories and Christmas gifts. We help women with new babies through our SFK fund at LFC which sends monthly shipments of formula, diapers, baby wipes and toiletries which have all been especially needed during the pandemic. During normal times WIC would register women at the hospital after giving birth but since Covid they have to sign up after they leave and since the office is only open one day a week it may take 2 to 3 weeks to get an appointment. In the mean time women have no resources to feed their baby unless they’re breastfeeding. WIC gives out formula once a month which is enough to last about 3 weeks. There have also been a number of teen pregnancies during the pandemic so they need education and resources for their babies. The CDC always needs donations of diapers and formula to make up for deficiencies in the WIC program during normal times but since Covid they’ve been almost desperate. They need our help now more than ever but we just don’t have the funding available to provide for everyone. SFK and FTCOPRRB members have been adding formula and diapers in their donation boxes to the CDC which helps so much. If you would like to help provide formula and diapers for the babies, please make a donation here (any amount welcome), one time or recurring.

Teen suicide has been a big issue on the Rez during the pandemic. The CDC has been holding small outside events for teens in various communities where they can share a meal, talk to each other as well as counselors and other people they trust and get help for their problems. It has been so isolating and depressing for teens being on lockdown away from their friends and school. The My Space youth center in Martin had to close so those kids didn’t have access to the computers or their friends. Their school work has also suffered from the months of virtual classes at home, which can be nearly impossible to do when you live in a house with up to 20 people. When you’re depressed school work is the last thing you want to talk about.  Our groups were asked to send Christmas gifts to the teens and they provided over 300 gifts for them and additional gifts for other children ages 0-12 in the community. They didn’t have a Christmas party but gifts were given out . Unfortunately due to the high Covid numbers , the drive thru meal that was planned did not happen.

Donations that come to the CDC also help the elderly in the community who are having a rough time during the pandemic. One of their current goals is providing for the homeless population in the community. The tribe boarded up homes in the housing projects if drugs were being used which put many people on the streets creating another issue. Funds they received from a CARES grant is helping the homeless with food, clothing, toiletries and hopefully some mental health counseling. Wild Horse Butte CDC is very grateful for all your help and asked us to thank you all for your kindness. Thank you SFK, For the Children of PR and Rosebud, Pine Ridge Elders and Halfknits for all you do!!

Head Start  

With the help of Wild Horse Butte CDC we were able to send a blanket, book and stuffed animal to the kids at the Martin Head Start program. This is a really popular program with all members and we’re hoping to add more Head Starts once the pandemic subsides.

Bright Start

Is a program that works with pregnant women 3 months before giving birth and continuing until their child turns 2. Women need basics for their babies as well as themselves. Nurses making home visits use these items as incentives to keep women in the program so they can learn good parenting skills, learn how to care for their baby including getting them to medical appointments. Many of their clients are young and really benefit from the home visits when they can have someone to talk to and get advice on any problems they may be having. Nurses teach about SIDS and the Back to Sleep program, encourage breastfeeding and help with any issues and look for signs of postpartum depression which is high among young mothers. Of course not all can breastfeed so LFC provides formula, diapers, baby wipes, baby wash and toiletries through the donations made to the baby program. SFK and FTCOPRR members sent many warm blankets, sleep sacks, sleepers, receiving blankets, sweaters, hats and booties, toys and toiletries and small gifts for moms throughout last year. Mary is so very thankful for all your help as are the recipients. Thank you ladies!  

RST Maternal and Child Health 

This program on Rosebud Reservation provides services to high risk mothers and their babies until age 2. They weren’t able to do home visits this past year due to the high number of positive Covid cases but did meet women in the office to address their needs. Our group members provided them with sleepers, sleep sacks, blankets, socks, onesies, towels, clothing, toys as well as books, toys and clothing for their older siblings. LFC sends a monthly box from Amazon containing diapers, formula, baby wipes, and toiletries made possible from your generous donations to the baby program. Thank you ladies!

Wanblee Child, Youth and Elder Programs

Members of all groups donated clothing for babies to elders including coats, hats and gloves, shawls, toiletries, blankets, school supplies, books and many other things. They received a monthly shipment of incontinence products, denture cleaner, food items such as coffee, tea, yeast and sugar and large size diapers for babies through Amazon. For The Children of PR and Rosebud group sent each elder a Christmas bag filled with goodies, these wonderful ladies never fail to remember the Wanblee elders at Christmas! Thank you ladies for your dedication and generosity!

Rosebud Elementary School

Although this school is not part of SFK’s donation area we simply must bring to your attention the wonderful work members of For The Children of Pine Ridge and Rosebud do for this school and many others. For the past few years these ladies have provided Christmas gifts for children at Rosebud Elementary and this year was no different. They sent all 300 students a blanket, book, stuffed animal and a new pillow with new handmade pillowcase and the teachers all received gifts as well! Another member provided each student a tote bag filled with art supplies. If that wasn’t enough these ladies also support Ruby’s Homeless and Homeless Vets in Pine Ridge and most of SFK donation areas! Wow ladies you’re a force to be reckoned with!!

We want to thank members of SFK, For The Children of PR and Rosebud, Pine Ridge Elders and Halfknits and all our supporters (many now web friends) for their generous monetary donations, the hundreds of boxes you sent filled with clothing, bedding, food, toys, books, school supplies, shoes, socks and underwear and so many other things we don’t have the space to list, and for sharing your time and talents with the Lakota people we serve. By donating basic needs to the organizations we support it means they have the resources to help their clients and can focus on their mission whether it’s educating children, caring for the homeless and abused, helping mothers feed and care for their babies or helping struggling youth build self esteem. Your in kind gifts alone were well over $30,000 last year and that isn’t counting your generous monetary gifts to LFC that provided appliances, propane, food, furniture, beds, etc. Please read their year end newsletter for a complete list. You are helping the Rez make positive changes for their people, not just because of your gifts, but because you care.

Bless you all!

Latest News/Preparing for Winter and Christmas

Although it’s been a couple of months since our last blog, that doesn’t mean SFK and partner groups haven’t been busy this Summer.  We’ve been working with “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud”, “Halfknits”, and “Pine Ridge Elders” on the July/August “Back to School” project.  Members have been busy shipping school clothing and supplies to the elementary schools we support and other donation areas serving children.  All groups partner with Lakota Friends Circle on various programs and also have their own special projects.  Members of “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud” just provided school supplies for the 300 students at Rosebud Elementary School on Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota which is just south of Pine Ridge.      

The September/October project, “Winter/Christmas Begins”, is now in full swing with members of all groups working on or purchasing warm blankets, clothing, boots and accessories  and of course Christmas gifts for children, youth and elders. Weather on the Rez can still be hot in early Fall but mornings and evenings are becoming cooler and students will need to start dressing a little warmer.  Many families ration propane for the coldest weather so most homes will not turn on the heat until they absolutely have to, which means kids may need to wrap up in a blanket to finish their homework.  Many times kids may be given a hat and gloves at school but return the next day without them.  They may have forgotten them but most likely another family member needed them too so we need to supply schools with extra accessories.   

While most of our group’s members are made up of crafters, we realize that not everything can be crafted and with the price of fabric and yarn continually rising sometimes it is more economical to purchase new or gently used items from thrift stores or garage sales.  Gently used items are welcomed at all our donation areas with the exception of underwear and socks, they must be new.  Please make sure all used items meet our Donation Guidelines before donating.  We also work with Lakota Friends Circle to purchase items in bulk for a better price such as school supplies, bags, pillows, shoes, boots, socks, etc.  We’re honored to work with such generous and talented members of all these groups!    

Marty Indian School and Wolf Creek School

SFK’s Room Parent program is beginning its sixth year at Marty Indian School located in the southeast corner of South Dakota on the Yankton Sioux Reservation.  Members of our group volunteer to be “room parents” for a class at Marty for the school year in classes K-5.  They help provide school supplies and may support any special projects or holiday needs and provide a Christmas gift for each student. In case of large classes or one with many needs other SFK members may help out as needed. 

Marty also maintains a “Feather Store” that has clothing, school supplies, toys, etc. for students and their parents to purchase using feathers as currency they’ve earned for exhibiting Dakota values.  You can read more about the store here.   Education is a main focus of SFK and all partner groups as we see education as the key to a better life on and off the Rez.  Although SFK members didn’t start the store they have kept it well stocked for the six years we’ve been helping the school.  They fill the store with coats, hats, mittens, blankets, clothing, ribbon skirts, shoes and boots, socks, underwear, linens and other household items, toiletries, laundry detergent, books, school supplies and toys.  Teachers can find birthday gifts for their students to help make their day special or find a coat or pair of mittens for them if needed.  Many students live in homes without laundry facilities and may come to school with soiled clothes.  The Feather Store can provide a new outfit and also wash the one they’re wearing so they can have at least two outfits which helps their self esteem.  We also provide laundry soap to the school through monthly donations to our Sew For Kids Fund at Lakota Friends Circle.   

SFK also has a snack fund for Marty through Lakota Friends Circle, thanks to our generous donors.  We have an account at Buches Foods, the local grocery store, where school personnel can buy snacks for the two days a week that are not covered in their school budget.  Teachers give out snacks toward the end of the day as some students may not eat again until breakfast the following morning.  Cafeteria workers say children tend to eat a lot at breakfast every day and at lunch on Friday because they know there may be slim pickings at home for the weekend.  Snacks also help feed kids that miss the bus, which means missing breakfast, in the morning.  Providing snacks during testing periods give kids extra nutrition improving their mental focus and improving their test scores.

Generous members of Sew For Kids donated books and monetary donations to purchase shelving (soon) for the new library in the elementary school.  Students come to the library weekly for reading activities with their class and may also choose a new book to read.  Reading scores at the school are consistently low so we’re hoping the library increases their scores and instills in them a love of reading.  The library and Feather Store haven’t been active the past month due to testing but should be open soon.   

This is the first year SFK is assisting  Wolf Creek School located in the town of Pine Ridge on Pine Ridge Reservation.  We only have 2 members serving as “Room Parents” for 4 classes (80 students) of 5th graders so they’re going to need our help to make sure kids have adequate school supplies, clothing and winter needs.      

Student Needs For Marty Indian School

  • School Supplies – Paper, pens/pencils, markers, crayons, backpacks, pencil cases, sharpeners, scissors, glue sticks, etc.
  • Clothing – Pants/jeans, shirts, skirts/dresses with matching shorts or leggings, light jackets, hoodies, coats, pajamas or sleep pants and T-shirt in sizes 4T to 16/18 or Adult S/M.
  • Shoes and boots – Athletic type, sturdier or waterproof especially desirable as most don’t have boots. Sizes to fit child 11/12 through adults 8-9.
  • Underwear and Socks – New only to fit 4T to adults S/M.  Also athletic type bras for girls, gently used is acceptable.
  • Toiletries – Shampoo, deodorant, soap, sanitary napkins/tampons.

If sending to Wolf Creek keep in mind we’re only assisting the 5th grade so students will need clothing at the larger kid sizes 16/18 or adult S/M, shoes should be youth 6 to adults 7-9.  They don’t have a Feather Store so will need items on the above list only, although they may like something on the list below.  We will wait for other specific needs from the Room Parents.   

 Feather Store Needs

  • Detergent, etc – Laundry detergent, dish detergent, kleenex, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc.  These items parents buy with their feathers.
  • Linens – Blankets/afghans, bath towels/washcloths, dish towels/cloths, pillows and cases, sheets (twin and full).  
  • Toys – Board games, dolls, cars, books, footballs, soccer and basketballs, coloring and activity books, crayons.  Anything suitable for children K-5 without batteries.
  • Girls – Hair ties, scrunchies, bracelets, necklaces, etc.
  • Art Supplies – Drawing, notebook and construction paper, colored pencils, crayons and markers, stencils, etc.

 Children In Need of Care

Formerly operating as “Gather Our Children Home”, is a foster home providing care in a safe environment for children ages 0-12 referred by Child Protective Services (CPS).  Children can stay up to 30 days in the facility until they find another home or their parents meet the requirements to regain custody.  The home just had it’s annual inspection and has once again been licensed by the state.  It’s been tough getting the home operating again, they’ve had difficulty finding and training good people to work with the kids, keeping everything up to state standards, working with an extremely limited budget and just dealing with kids coming from sad home situations, many with medical needs that need addressing.  That being said, with our group’s help and many other caring people the kids have a safe place to go when home isn’t a safe place to be.  The home also has help from a few other groups who share the vision.  One organization is helping with utilities, another person is providing tax and accounting help, another group is helping with the outside play area and others have helped with furniture needs including bunk beds provided by Re-Member.  One of our SFK donors is paying the monthly phone/internet service until they’re fully funded.  LFC has provided a new washer and dryer, food and propane, playpens, high chairs, booster seats, outdoor tables, shade area and soon a shed to store all the outdoor furniture and toys in.  All this was made possible through very generous donors, many of them SFK members.  You have also provided clothing, towels, bedding, toys, games, school supplies and comfort blankets and stuffies for children who arrive at the home scared and sad after being taken from their home. Your generosity has allowed the staff at the foster home to feed and clothe and keep the children warm, clean and safe.  

The home received a CARE grant for $120,000 but the funds can only be used for certain things and can only be accessed after the money is spent. CPS pays employee salaries as they receive $17 per child per day from the state.  The Rez started a day labor program so they have found some workers through that program to cut employee costs. They will still need to meet standards and receive training but the tribe pays their salaries. The administrative staff at the home are not currently receiving a salary but are still working because like us and many others, they believe in the need for a safe place for their Lakota children.  https://vimeo.com/124132013

Foster Home Needs  

  • Winter Wear – Coats, hoodies, mittens/gloves, hats, boots and shoes sizes 3/6 M to adult S/M.
  • Socks and Underwear and warm PJs New only sizes Toddler through S/M adult.
  • Baby Needs – Sweaters, hats, snowsuits, onesies, sleepers in sizes 3/6M to toddler.

When kids arrive from CPS they are bathed and dressed in new clothing, usually sweat suits initially.  Kids have to go to medical appointments, get court orders and some attend the local school if they stay long enough. The LFC Baby Donation Program provides diapers, cream, and baby shampoo/wash monthly via Amazon from monthly donations to that program.  One of our SFK members is providing diapers, toilet paper, etc.  The foster home is an example of “It takes a village to make this happen”.   

Baby Programs

Bright Start on PRR follows women in the last trimester of pregnancy through 3 years of age.  A nurse makes weekly home visits for the first month then twice a month thereafter.  Rosebud Maternal and Child Health follows high risk women throughout their pregnancy through 2 years of age.  The goals of both programs are education and addressing needs of both mother and child.  Through generous monthly donations to LFC we’re able to provide both programs with diapers, diaper cream, baby wash, etc. and members of SFK and FTCOPRR provide baby clothing, blankets, stuffies, toys, books and gifts for women such as toiletries, winter accessories, etc.  We share March of Dimes goals of ending preventable maternal health risks and death and preterm birth and infant death which are all prevalent in underserved populations in our country.  

Baby Needs 

  • Clothing – onesies-long sleeved, warm sleepers, sleep sacks, sweaters, shirts and pants, coats and snowsuits.  Most NB wear 0/3M but Rosebud’s program also needs NB and preemie since they serve high risk clients.  Sizes for all areas needed up to 3T.
  • Socks/booties and hats – Both good projects for knitters/crocheters and sewers.
  • Blankets – Warm blankets, afghans, quilts and receiving blankets
  • Towels – Regular bath towels and washcloths, hooded towels and smaller/softer baby washcloths.
  • Burp Cloths/Bibs – Both home sewn and purchased.  Good projects to whittle down your stash.
  • Toys – Including small stuffed animals (baby safe-no buttons, strings, loose trims, etc.), teethers, baby books.  Other toys up to 2-3T.
  • Sheets – To fit Pack n Play, they only receive one sheet with the unit.
  • Diaper Bags – Traditional style, tote bags and backpacks for younger mothers.
  • Toiletries – Baby wash/shampoo, cotton swabs, diaper cream, thermometers, baby nail clippers and pacifiers.
  • Women’s Toiletries – Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, sanitary pads/tampons.  Small items such as nail polish, hair ties, scrunchies, comb/brush, etc.
  • Diapers and Wipes – Diapers sizes 3-4 most needed.

Sacred Shawl and White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society

As many of you might remember, for 5 years we supported the Sacred Shawl women’s shelter and CDC in Martin, SD and worked with Director Kimmie Clausen and her team.   When Kimmie left that position we didn’t feel confident about continuing our relationship with the shelter as we didn’t know if they would stay open, who would be the new director, or how our donations would be used.  After 2 temporary directors, Wild Horse Butte CDC now has a new Director, Mike Red Cloud and new office personnel who will report directly to the Board.  He will oversee the CDC and the Sacred Shawl shelter.  The CDC’s two main projects will focus on helping the homeless and caring for women and children coming to the women’s shelter.  Carol spoke with advocates at the shelter whom we had worked with in the past and they were so happy to hear we wanted to work with them again because we had made such a difference in so many lives.  They do accept homeless women but no one can come to the shelter unless they come through the police department or the hospital and they must have a negative covid test for entry.  They still want to help mothers coming to the CDC toward the end of the month asking for help with diapers and formula for their babies.  They also said the people who come to the CDC and the shelter are in need of warm clothes, blankets, and  socks and underwear for all age groups.  Sacred Shawl will take any donations they can get, they still have their plastic bins (now mostly empty) that were used to store all the donations we sent.   

We will continue to support White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society on Rosebud Reservation and they too are in need of warm coats, clothing and winter accessories for their clients.  This shelter serves women and children and also men who are victims of domestic violence.  They can use items in all sizes from babies through adults for both males and females.  

Shelter Needs

  • Winter Clothing – For adults including warm coats, hoodies, sweatshirts, sweatpants, long underwear, fleece shirts and pants.
  • Kids Clothing – Coats, hoodies, pants and shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas.
  • Baby Clothing – Onesies long sleeved, warm sleepers, snow suits, coats, etc.
  • Accessories – Warm hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, cowls, etc.  All sizes
  • Linens/Bedding – Pillows (new only) and cases, sheets full and twin, blankets/afghans, towels and washcloths
  • Toiletries – Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, sanitary napkins/tampons, bar soap.  
  • Boots and Shoes – All sizes baby to adult 
  • Baby Needs – Diapers, all sizes, baby shampoo/wash, bottles, wipes, diaper cream 
  • Socks and Underwear – New only, for all sizes baby through adult.  Athletic style bras M-XL for women gently used accepted.
  • Paper Products – Toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex
  • Craft/Art Supplies – Fabric for quilt making, beading supplies, sewing notions, Drawing paper, pencils, markers, adult coloring books, etc.
  • Books – All ages and GED study materials

Maggie’s House

We would also like to begin helping Maggie’s House in Kyle on PRR.  Their mission: “It is the goal of Maggie’s House to provide a safe and stable environment enriched with culturally appropriate and evidence based services to youth aging out of foster care, trafficked, homeless, parenting teens, and young adults ages 17-21”.  Pauletta Red Willow, who started the home and is the Director, took over the former Cangleska building (the original domestic abuse shelter on PRR) when they closed and then refurbished it with grant money.  They can serve up to 12 clients. There have 3 employees, one is a teacher of Lakota culture to help clients return to practicing Lakota values and traditions. Pauletta was in charge of the tribal foster teen youth center that served teens aged 13-17 in the town of Pine Ridge for 10 years. Pauletta works on Standing Rock Reservation and also teaches at Oglala Lakota College (OLC).  She helps find missing and murdered Native American women through her work. She felt there was a need for this new age group because so many were homeless and/or have struggled with alcohol and drug addiction.  Maggie’s House had to temporarily close due to Covid but have continued to help clients with food, toiletries and other needs using funds from the CARES program. 

Maggie’s House needs updates to the building which will be funded through grants but they need some new beds, mattresses, bedding, towels and probably many other things but we are starting with just a few of their needs.  Partner group, “For the Children of PRR and Rosebud”, would like to work with us on this new project and the women’s shelters.   Pauletta’s husband manages the food program for ONE Spirit and helps at the slaughterhouse on the Rez that provides meat to the tribe.  He was director of the Oyate Teca  project for 10 years and is involved in many gardening projects and working on getting food pantries in districts across PRR.  We will have a list of needs when they reopen and begin serving youth again.   

Wanblee Child, Youth and Elder Program  

Lakota Friends Circle recently moved their official non profit address from the High Horse home in Wanblee to a new location in the community of Porcupine.  Over the past several months the High Horse’s have not been in communication with LFC or any of the groups working with them. This could be due to health problems or other issues we’re not aware of but communication is the key to a program’s success. Jerome will no longer serve as project manager in Wanblee for LFC however you can still ship boxes to the High Horse address for distribution to those residents reaching out to them for help. We still do not have an answer regarding the need for Christmas gifts this year so are unable to give you any direction on that matter. Some of the projects have not been finished probably due to health issues and the lack of workers and volunteers available since Covid arrived on the Rez. We have a responsibility to our donors to finish projects so we will not take on any more building projects in Wanblee but instead concentrate on child, youth, and women’s issues and education. We hope Jerome will finish the food pantry and the trailers we moved to the Wanblee area for families in need.

There are now a number of other non profits helping in Wanblee that are doing some of the projects we had hoped to help Jerome with so it doesn’t make sense to duplicate other programs. When LFC began in Wanblee there were no other organizations helping in the area but fortunately for the community they now have several. The High Horses are wonderful people and have done many good things for their community and other areas as well over the years. We have enjoyed working with them, thankful for all they’ve done and wish them both good health and happiness.  We plan to continue with Wanblee until the end of the year but plan to add Sacred Shawl and Maggie’s House to the areas we serve going forward. Many SFK members and those in other groups have developed a relationship with the High Horse’s, some have visited them at their home in Wanblee. Even though they will not be an “official” program of LFC or SFK you may still wish to donate to them which is fine but we won’t be able to give you guidance as to needs or if your packages arrive so you will need to communicate with Jerome and Theresa directly.

Shipping Addresses are here

Many thanks to all our donors and group members for the kindness and generosity you’ve shown to the Lakota people we serve. You support programs that help provide food, housing, clothing and education that makes life better and gives hope to those in need. Please join us on our Facebook group Sew For Kids Volunteers, where you will meet lots of nice people and see the projects everyone is working on which is especially fun at this time of year when members post pictures of dolls and other gifts they’re making.

Area Updates-May-June

Things are still moving at a slower pace on the Rez, men are still monitoring the borders but life is beginning to return to normal for many.  Our members have been busy over the past two months making/buying summer clothing and blankets for kids and working on the annual “Doll Project” for Christmas. Thanks to all who helped those needs. We can not thank you enough.  Recipients of those donations  were the White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society (domestic abuse women’s shelter) in Mission, SD, Wanblee, SD and surrounding areas, Marty Indian Elementary school in Marty SD, the Children in Need of Care home in Porcupine SD ( foster care) and to visiting home nurse Mary at Bright Start in Pine Ridge Village , SD. Mary works with mothers and their children until they’re three years old providing education on parenting, child care, and health care. The donations she receives from SFK members and from the members of For the Children of Pine Ridge and Rosebud  Reservation on Ravelry provide much needed resources for new mothers and also serve as incentives to encourage women to participate in the Bright Start program. Members will be working on sewing and/or purchasing baby items next month to help stock up our areas working with babies and toddlers. Four SFK members ( Julie, Deanna, Cynthia and Penny ) are embroidering diaper bags and making a bib, pouch for diapers and wipes and a changing pad for each new mother with other volunteers providing all the other diaper bag “necessities”.  Thanks ladies. Lakota Friends Circle also sends monthly shipments of diapers, wipes, baby toiletries, etc. to our baby areas,  all made possible from the generous monthly donations to the baby fund from SFK members and other donors to Lakota Friends Circle ( LFC) , our “umbrella” non profit.  

Wanblee

Volunteers in Wanblee (Lakota Friends Circle home base) are starting to work together once again as more residents get vaccinated and people feel less fearful of the coronavirus. Some community members did lose their lives to the virus so people need to feel safe before being around others.  Food and other items are coming on trucks from NAHA which just recently restarted deliveries since last Spring. Now with permission to use the Kennedy Hall (local community center) volunteers can once again sort donations and distribute them to people in need. Many items were needed by the community, especially laundry detergent and toiletries that usually come on the NAHA trucks, although what is actually on the trucks is different with each delivery.  Running Strong has continued to provide food boxes for the community.  One of our Sew For Kids members and husband, Becky and Dan W, recently delivered blankets she had made for the Head Start students and they both helped unload the Running Strong truck while there.  

Jerome and Theresa High Horse recently traveled to Omaha, Nebraska to speak to the congregations of two churches that have been helping them with food over the past few years and express their thanks and gratitude for their continued help to the Wanblee area.  They returned with more food donations and a covered truck they can use to for food pick up instead of using an open trailer that needs tarping.  Jerome purchased some small freezers to keep food cold when traveling long distances. The trailer needed a spare tire ($150) and a floor jack  ($140), LFC covered the cost of those items and other needs and travel expenses for the trip.  Thanks to all the generous donations to LFC that make it possible to repair equipment and pay for travel expenses to pick up much needed food and supplies. Jerome and Theresa will be  returning to Omaha in two weeks to pick up more food from these two churches. 

Jerome and his volunteers have been working on the building (unassembled kit) donated by Running Strong that will be used for the food pantry when completed.  LFC applied for a “Pollination Project” grant and received $5000 to buy tools, a new roof upgrade from flat to slanted which performs better with heavy snow, insulation, electrical board, and over 100 bags of cement and a small mixer to pour a base for the building. LFC paid for the labor to pour the pad and they still need to purchase shelving, freezers and a refrigerator. The pantry will store items Jerome puts aside for emergency food and other items like toiletries, diapers, formula, and other donations that come in from our SFK volunteers and from the Ravelry group “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation and Rosebud,” for families in need in Wanblee and the surrounding communities.     

The future garden will also be on the food pantry site hopefully with help from South Dakota Extension experts. They offer education on gardening, nutrition, food preparation, canning, etc. A generous SFK member (Thanks Angela!) has donated money for the addition of fruit trees at the garden site and luckily one of the extension experts specializes in fruit trees suitable for  South Dakota.  This year volunteers hope to fence the garden site, amend the soil (waiting for results of the soil sample), build raised beds and add irrigation. Since the soil won’t be ready for most crops this year a pumpkin patch is planned as the first crop. The garden will be completed in stages as there is lots of work to be done in order to grow crops in the severe weather conditions of South Dakota.  Hail storms, damaging winds and droughts all have to be planned for as they are all common on the Rez and can wipe out an entire garden. Also on the same site is one of the three trailers that were moved to Wanblee from Pine Ridge a couple of years ago.  They’re discussing how to best use the trailer – an office, residence for security personnel, soup kitchen for elders and children are all being considered.  Picnic tables and a shade area are being discussed for garden workers.

Children in Need of Care 

“Children in Need of Care”, formerly operating as “Gather Our Children Home”, has finally reopened after being closed for a few years while Barb Dull Knife , the former Director, fulfilled requirements to receive state certification, found and trained new staff and waited for the pandemic to subside. Sew For Kids members have been providing food and other essentials for the past few months while they wait for funding from the CARES program to come in. Their annual budget will be around $200,000, from which they will have to pay staff salaries, buy food, pay for transportation costs for client appointments, utilities, building maintenance, and purchase diapers, formula and other needs. Thank goodness rent is free thanks to Porcupine School District providing the home for them. They have a new Director , Janelle  who will work with the budget and find grants to apply for and a supervisor (former Head Start and Special Ed teacher) who will supervise and hold education classes for the 9 staff members, plan the menus, keep inventories of supplies and handle any daily problems that may arise. Welcome Tatsy. 

The foster home has a capacity of 12 but the current need is so great they’ve had to take a few more in while they search for other homes to place the children. They will open a second home in the future if sufficient grant money can be found. Barb Dull Knife donated her land for a center for children in need in abuse situations . A double wide building which already has utility access is hopefully going to be placed on that land. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that this will become a reality in the near future.     

SFK members have been sending diapers, formula, baby bottles, diaper bags, toiletry bags, changing pad/bibs,  clothing, blankets, dolls, pillows, books, toys, snack foods, toiletries, potties for toilet training, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, and many other essentials. They have also provided a special comfort blanket that each child receives when arriving at the center. The Halfknits from Texas have been helping to get blankets to the kids at the home as well as to other areas that have a need. Thanks Kat and friends.   

Lakota Friends Circle purchased (from your generous donations!) a changing table, 2 high chairs, 2 booster chairs, a playpen, pots and pans, diapers and formula, 2 tables for sorting laundry, a few “tablet” computers for older kids and propane.  They also provided funds to pay for staff to pick up a child who had to be airlifted to Sioux Falls for emergency surgery and stabilization. Funds were provided to purchase clothing for a teen who was admitted to the home in desperate need of clothing, shoes and underwear.  Barb took her on a shopping trip where she was able to choose her own clothing, she was thrilled!  The age limit for admission is usually 12 but this young lady was a special case and needed a safe place to stay. Thanks to Julie W who provided a good portion of the money for that need. The next purchase will be a front loading washer and dryer with funds LFC already has available. They have a washer and dryer now but they’re not heavy duty and won’t hold up very long with all the laundry needs of a dozen children.    

When the center receives funding from the CARES program they will purchase new bunk beds, and a new table and chairs. A generous donor provided a new sofa and living room chairs.  Children can be tough on furniture and they had been using donated furniture that had already seen better days. They will also need to purchase a larger refrigerator as the one they have now isn’t big enough to store a week’s worth of food for everyone. The center was short on money this month and a very generous SFK member stepped up and donated $500 for the purchase of food for the home! 

 Snacks are provided for the children mid morning, mid afternoon and in the evening before they go to bed. The center could use our help providing cheese and plain crackers, Vienna sausages, animal crackers, peanut butter, and baby teething biscuits etc  These items are small and can be tucked in a corner of a box when sending items. They do try to provide fresh fruit and veggies for snacks as most children don’t get those nutritious foods at home.  Other needs for the home are coloring books and crayons and dolls for the girls which will be provided by SFK members.  

Also the kids need to exercise and while they have a big backyard, there are no play structures. LFC has partnered with another non profit Friends of the Lakota Nation to help provide some play equipment for the kids. This organization, in the past, built the fence around the center and will be installing sidewalks soon. They have funding to construct a purchased play structure and since the group is made up of contractors they will consult with Barb Dull Knife, former director of the center, and come up with a design. LFC wants to provide a large sandbox with a cover and a picnic table for eating and other activities. One of our generous members donated $500 toward the project, thanks Tracy and Jack!  The kids will need sand toys – shovels, pails, watering cans, construction toys for the boys, balls, etc.    

Marty Indian School

The past school year for Marty has been strange to say the least due to the pandemic.  Students picked up weekly homework packets from school to work on at home until they returned to the classroom in March and they are now on summer break which began mid May.    Since most students have fallen behind in their grade levels they will be attending summer school in June and July to try and catch up.  Although there were no students for most of the year SFK members continued to supply the Feather Store and sent books for a new library in the school.  One of our SFK members, Linda B  and her niece Hannah, had a T shirt stenciled with the slogan “Readers Make Leaders” for each of the 80 plus students. Thanks ladies. Members Cynthia, Penny, Deanna and Julie embroidered reading tote bags for the kids with different phrases encouraging reading. Linda B and her niece will be designing reading certificates for the kids if there is a summer reading program. SFK members sent lots of books for the kids, many with Native American themes. Paulita set up the library at the school but has since retired so Lacey McT will take over the reading program after returning from a short break. Room parents will continue to support their classes over the summer if they have needs.

One of the school’s current needs is outdoor playground equipment.  The playground area is the size of half a football field and they need basketballs, soccer balls/nets, baseball bats, gloves and balls, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, sand toys such as pails, shovels, trucks, sand strainers, etc. Toys seem to disappear after a while so now need to be replaced as they’re critically low and now need to be replaced If you can help with any of these items, the kids would love them.

Sew For Kids have sent in clothing , etc to the Feather store. The principal is looking for a new person to take on that position now that Paulita has retired. It takes a lot of time to keep it organized so she has to find someone who can fit that into her duties

If you want to help, you can send donations to LFC here  or send needed items to our various organizations here. Check out the Give Back Box as that will save you shipping money.  Information on what organizations you can use the GBB with and instructions to explain the GBB process as there is step to get thru that is not on the GBB site, can be found here.  Join us on our Sew For KIds Volunteers Facebook working group page here and follow the latest of LFC projects on the Facebook page here.

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids for all you do. We can not thank you all enough for your generous hearts to the children, their families and the elders. 

Spring 2021 News

There hasn’t been too much news to share lately because the pandemic and recent snow storms have severely limited activities of the Rez organizations we support.  The border is still being monitored by resident volunteers to keep nonresidents from entering unless they’re providing essential services.  On the vaccine front tribes are getting shots into the arms of their communities at near double the rate of South Dakota according to a recent analysis by NPR.  In fact across Indian Country vaccine distribution is being done at far faster rates than U.S. averages.  For further reading about the history of vaccines and past injustices done to Native Americans on health issues read the Washington Post article here.   

Rosebud News

SFK members have been sending clothing and other goods to the domestic violence shelter at White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society (WBCWS) in Mission, SD on Rosebud Reservation.  Many staff members at the shelter were former clients of the shelter themselves having once suffered domestic abuse.  White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society, was founded in 1977 on Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota as a non-profit organization and in 1980 became the first women’s shelter on an Indian Reservation in the US. They provide services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. They can provide safe shelter for up to 36 women and children, they also serve teens ages 11-21 and men who’ve been abused. Men are provided safe shelter at local hotels as well as women with male children over 14.  They also have 2 residences where they can house families which has been very helpful during the pandemic.  Covid cases have been declining so some of the activities that were on hold are beginning to resume. WBCWS provides many educational programs and material goods for the community as well as for the clients in the shelter.  SFK is currently working on baby bags, books, school supplies, toys and games for children in the shelter.  Current shelter needs are here but they have made a special request for clothing, underwear, socks, shoes, etc for teen boys, they never seem to have enough for this age group.    

Another organization we help is RST Maternal and Child Health, a tribal government program located in Mission, South Dakota.  This organization serves women with high risk pregnancies (about 30 per year) referred to them by the medical community or other health program. Clients are followed by visiting nurses throughout their pregnancy and after delivery receiving health and well being checks for both them and their babies, education and referral to other programs and resources as needed. Home visits begin two weeks after delivery and continue on a regular basis until the baby’s second birthday when they’re turned over to other programs.  Shipments to RST have been suspended since the pandemic began last March when they began operating on a limited schedule.  We will resume sending packages to them once they have normal operating hours, until then they’ve been getting resources for their clients from goods SFK and other groups send to WBCWS.  Since there is only a Dollar Store in Mission residents have to travel quite a distance to buy groceries and other needs.  Thankfully the tribe was able to give families food and monetary assistance during the toughest times.       

Rosebud schools are still closed but plan to reopen in the Fall of 2021.  Hopefully the staff will be vaccinated by then as well as some of the students.  Students have attended school virtually and have suffered for it, hopefully they can make up for some of their losses when they return.  Our partner organization “For The Children of PRR and Rosebud” have been sending books, school supplies, etc. to be given out to families on homework delivery days.

Wanblee News   

Jerome and Theresa High Horse continue to be busy with the many projects that arise in the community.  Jerome and the Woodchucks have been cutting and delivering wood and picking up any supplies or food boxes that come from Running Strong in Manderson SD that have been shipped in from their organization on the Cheyenne River Reservation.  Jerome also picked up two truckloads of food in Nebraska one recent weekend and had his volunteers sort and then deliver to families in need. The winter was a little warmer than usual but they still had their share of snowstorms which means Jerome and his men were out helping dig out people stuck along the highway, thankfully the truck has snow tires!   

The High Horses are so appreciative of all the donations that have been coming in and have been distributing your generous gifts to those in need, including to a family of 15 in Corn Creek.  They saved some of the donations received in the past few months to give as gifts to children at the Easter party held last weekend and since they couldn’t hold an Easter party last year they still had those donations to use.  They decided not to hold the traditional Easter egg hunt as people are still worried about the virus and being around anyone outside their immediate family.  Theresa and women from the community cooked an Easter dinner and meals were packed into takeout containers so families could pick up their meals and eat at home.  All the food was provided by the new minister in Kadoka who recently purchased the previous minister’s home in Wanblee.  Jerome also picked up 200 food boxes for Easter from Running Strong to give families as well.  Lakota Friends Circle provided the candy for treat bags delivered to kids at their homes, fuel for pickup and delivery of food boxes from Running Strong and takeout food containers for the dinner.   

Currently Jerome and the LFC Board have been discussing the community garden with the South Dakota Extension Program.  Wanblee received approval from the extension office to be one of their registered gardens so can receive help with seeds, tools, help setting up the garden and education on nutrition, canning, etc. LFC has funds from a very generous donor to purchase fruit trees for the garden so we’re hoping that can be accomplished this year too.  The garden site must be prepared which involves amending the soil, fencing the site and hooking up a water supply.  We’re anticipating a hold up with the water since anything that involves the tribe means waiting. One of the trailers is on the garden site and will be a great place to prepare coffee and snacks for the workers.  Also on the same site is the food pantry which should be finished by June. More in a future blog on these projects as work begins.  We will need the help of our partner groups once this project is in motion. 

Bright Start

Bright Start is a home visiting program of the Office of Child and Family Services.  Registered nurses meet with at risk families during pregnancy and until their child turns 2 or 3 years of age.   They provide prenatal, maternal, infant and toddler health assessments, health and safety education, parent support, developmental screening, and links with community resources.  We work with Nurse Mary Mousseau on Pine Ridge Reservation.  Mary sees her clients weekly in Pine Ridge, Martin and Kyle until the baby is two weeks old and twice a month thereafter.  She has between 20 and 30 clients, many  in their teens and first time mothers with no resources for their new baby.

Mary has been receiving lots of beautiful items from SFK and partner groups.  It’s a  great program as moms and babies get beautiful, much needed essentials and education at Mary’s twice a month visits.  Currently some of the members are working on diaper bags, clutches and changing pads that we plan to fill with goodies in our June projects. 

Child Placement Center

The Child Placement Center (formerly the Emergency Foster Care Home) in Porcupine South Dakota, has finally opened their doors again after nearly 2 years of being closed. The center can hold up to 12 children at a time, infant through age 12, exceptions on age limit occasionally.  It has taken a long time to open the center as they had to be state approved, acquire insurance and have staff members trained, vaccinated and screened.  When the pandemic hit last spring the move was delayed again by the frequent lockdowns.  Children come to the center through Child Protective Services, they’re so thankful to have another place to send kids in need of a safe place to live.  Children are tested for Covid prior to admission and can stay up to 30 days while a safe, permanent home is found for them. 

It didn’t take long for the center to start filling up, they currently have 7 children, all coming with their special issues.  They have 6 staff members covering all shifts and are looking for a Director to replace Barb Dull Knife who is 74 years old and has agreed to be acting director until a replacement is found.  Barb founded the organization due to an incident she was affected by (see blog) and felt she must do something to give kids a safe place to live in times of crisis.  They’re also hoping to have parenting classes in each district which will be done with Child Protective Services (CPS).  When CPS receives a child they try to find a relative, no matter how distant, to take the child. Sometimes they need a few days to make arrangements so the child will stay at the center until then.  Some children may stay longer as they might have trouble finding a home for them or they’re hoping at the end of the month the parents have been able to change the conditions that brought the child into protective custody.  Many of the foster relative families do not have the resources they need to take care of immediate needs such as clothing so SFK likes to give them some things to get them started.  A family member fostering a child only receives a one time $150 stipend, a non relative receives a monthly stipend.  CPS makes every effort to keep Native children on the Rez where they will learn their language, culture and live with their relatives and other Lakota.     

Sew For Kids members have been trying to supply some of the center’s needs since opening.  Immediate needs supplied were new pots and pans, dish soap, laundry detergent, bleach, paper towels, toilet paper, larger size diapers and pull ups.  Toiletries, socks and underwear and some clothing was sent as well as towels and wash cloths.  Staff are still going through the bins of clothing stored from our past donations and will make a list of needed sizes.  Snacks for kids were sent, baby biscuits, animal crackers and baby bottles too.  Some of our members are working on diaper bags, clutches and changing pads.  Barb needed a diaper bag to take kids to the doctor and to send with children being transported, our members filled that need.  Although immediate needs have mostly been filled all the above items and more will be ongoing needs as more children come through the center.  They do need books for smaller kids currently.  We asked Lakota Friends Circle to help with propane and also a changing table.  Some SFK members also generously donated funds through LFC for a staff member and social worker to pick up an ill child after medical treatment at a facility off the Rez.  Barb Dull Knife is making her wish list as she sees a need which we’ll post in an upcoming blog.  

Marty Indian School

The kids at Marty Indian School are back full time in the classroom.  It took a while before they could open as workers students and their families came down with Covid.  All teachers have been vaccinated.  Students were tested as soon as they returned and despite receiving school packages each week, have fallen behind and need to work hard to catch up.  School ends the third week of May, students can attend the Boys and Girls Club until the end of June and thereafter they’re planning to hold 2 summer sessions in July and August before the new school year begins.  One session will be for the students in grades 3-5 who will do basic skills in the morning and cooking in the afternoon.  They will make a shopping list, figure out the amount of food they need, follow recipes and measure ingredients.  They’re hoping students will have fun while learning to cook and use their math skills.   Students K-2 will attend the second session where they will brush up on reading and other skills.  Sew For Kids members have sent lots of books so  they could set up a library in the elementary school and we’re thrilled to tell you kids are using the library!  We’re hoping to purchase three more bookshelves for the library.  Currently the Feather Store is well stocked.  The room parent program is still active but very different due to the closures, they’re helping teachers and students with classroom needs.    .

Kimmie Clausen who headed the Sacred Shawl and WBCWS ,domestic abuse centers for women and their children, is no longer Director of either program . There are reasons why she is not continuing in these centers, some not under her control. Currently she is helping to write a grant for a fire station for the Rez with Oglala Sioux Housing. She said it took a pandemic to get the government to see the needs of Native Americans and their reservations. She is still thinking about her next project but has to take some time off for family medical issues that need her attention. We will see her back in a new endeavor once she gets through the next months. Stay tuned! 

April and May projects for Sew For Kids is Summer Clothing.  Items can be sewn or purchased new or gently used.  Please send your donations to Wanblee, White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society, Child Placement Center, and Bright Start.  Bright Start needs are clothing infant through 3T and can be sent now although June is devoted to restocking their baby supplies.  Shipping addresses can be found here

Summer Clothing 

  1. Clothing – Sew or purchase summer clothing and sun hats for toddlers through teens.  Shorts, capris, dresses and skirts, lightweight pants, leggings, T-shirts, tops, light jackets and summer weight PJ’s in sizes toddler to 16/18 or adult size small for all areas.  Baby/toddler size only for Bright Start.
  2. Shoes – Sandals, flip flops, tennis shoes and other summer shoes, all sizes, all areas.

Well that’s all the latest news for now.  Please join us on Facebook at Sew For Kids Volunteers. You can check out the non profit Lakota Friends Circle here, Sew For Kids is one of the partners working under them.  We hope you have all read what was accomplished by Sew For Kids in 2020, if not you can read about it here.   

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids.

Accomplishments of Lakota Friends Circle and its Partner Groups 2020

Here is Lakota Friends Circle yearly report. While long it shows you what we were able to accomplish this year because of you. Thank you for your support Lakota Friends Circle 2020 Year in Review2020 has been a year like no other since the arrival of COVID-19 last February. Almost overnight a simple trip to the grocery or dropping by to visit a friend became a major event that required careful planning and consideration, every aspect of our lives changed dramatically. Now we’ve all become accustomed to wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, social distancing and using phrases like “flatten the curve”, “shelter in place”, “contact tracing”, and “super spreader events”. As the virus spread across the country and more people were exposed, progress on some of the projects LFC had planned to finish or implement on the three South Dakota Indian Reservations we serve ground to a halt. Reservation borders closed early in the pandemic and were monitored around the clock to keep non-residents out unless they were essential workers or making deliveries which meant volunteers would not be able to work on any projects until borders opened again. Members of some of LFC’s partner groups brought truckloads of donations and met Jerome and Theresa High Horse (program managers in Wanblee), off the Rez. Jerome and Theresa and community volunteers still delivered food and wood when they could through quarantines and lockdowns. Food pick up this year was limited to Running Strong or Sam’s in Rapid City, trips to We Don’t Waste in Denver were suspended as they were concentrating on feeding the hungry in their own area. Sadly drive by funerals have become the norm as people pay their respects to the deceased but try to avoid exposure to the virus. Thankfully vaccines have arrived on the reservations with elders and essential workers receiving priority. Hopefully the situation will continue to improve and as vaccines are more widely distributed, volunteers can return and work on area projects. Lakota Friends Circle Raised close to $60,000 last year thanks to your continued, generous contributions to fund programs that help our Native American friends living on Pine Ridge, Rosebud and Yankton Sioux Reservations in South Dakota. None of this work would be possible without your support and we and our Rez friends are eternally grateful! Your generosity allowed LFC to accomplish many things in spite of the pandemic.

Purchased new chainsaws, replaced bars and chains on the old ones and provided oil and fuel for the wood program in Wanblee.

Provided safety goggles and gloves, work boots, coats and warm clothing for the Woodchucks.

Repaired the “little red truck” that Jerome uses for food pickup and delivery. The truck’s engine was replaced and she got a new starter and an oil change, we also added a new set of snow tires for safer winter driving in the back areas. Jerome is often asked to get people out of snow drifts.

Replaced the tires on one of the trailers used to pick up and deliver food and supplies for families and for hauling building supplies and wood for our projects.

Purchased a new hitch, rear lights and a license for a trailer gifted to LFC for deliveries.

Purchased building materials for the new pantry which is in progress, the foundation has been completed.

Delivered wood to families in the Wanblee area through our wood program using funds from our fuel/wood fund donations. Jerome and the Woodchucks went out 8 times last year with 4-5 trucks each time and brought back 48 loads of wood. They distributed 47 cords of wood to families in need.

Picked up and delivered food, school supplies, winter clothing and blankets from Running Strong. Jerome did 19 food pickups and made an additional 6 trips to pick up miscellaneous items such as shoes, clothing, hygiene items, etc for distribution to people in need. The “little red truck” got a work out last year, all made possible with your donations to the fuel fund.

Delivered 100 air conditioners and cases of water that were donated to the Wanblee area. Jerome and Theresa traveled over 1,000 miles delivering them to residents at most risk of hyperthermia or heat stroke.

Provided wood, warm clothing, masks and sanitizer to border monitors.

Provided masks, alcohol and hand sanitizer to those in need in Wanblee. Many items donated by members of our partner groups

.Purchased Christmas gifts for Jerome’s volunteers, a coffee maker for men and small air fryer for women, to thank them for all the work they do for LFC programs throughout the year.

Purchased a new washing machine and bed frames for a family of 15 with small children and newborns who were sleeping on the floor. Delivered a trailer load of basic needs, clothing, diapers, etc. donated by our partner groups.

Applied for and received a $5,000 grant from the Pollination Project to finish work on the food pantry building.

“Little Library Box” and books were donated by a generous donor that will be installed in Wanblee and be accessible to all in the community to encourage children and their families to read. Partner groups are sending books as well, we hope to have a reading circle in the near future.

Provided toiletries, diapers, and formula to women and their babies through donations to our monthly baby/toddler program.

Provided elder needs such as incontinence supplies and Polident and food items such as tea, coffee, sugar/sugar substitutes, baking powder, oil, and creamer.

Provided clothing and other needs to families losing everything in home fires.

Provided funding to return a child to the Rez that was in danger of being placed out of state away from family.

Provided a $1000 scholarship to a needy student who purchased a tool box and books for his electrical trades program . This was our first year of the scholarship program and Dustin J was our first student. Students can apply each year during their program if they successfully complete the previous semester.

Although LFC’s main purpose is to raise funds for donation area programs, we have four partner groups under our non profit umbrella, Sew For Kids, For The Children of Pine Ridge Reservation, Halfknits and Pine Ridge Elders, that help with the day to day needs of families such as clothing, toiletries, blankets, school supplies, etc. These groups serve Marty Indian School, on Yankton Sioux Reservation, Rosebud Elementary School, RST Maternal and Child Health, and White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society on Rosebud Reservation, Bright Start, Ruby’s Homeless and OST Veterans Shelter in Pine Ridge and families in Wanblee and the surrounding areas on Pine Ridge Reservation. These groups contributed over $30,000 plus of in kind donations last year.

Sew For Kids

Provided school supplies to Wanblee and Marty Indian school. One of their generous members donated enough money to LFC to provide many of the school supplies as well as enough to purchase snacks for the school year.

SFK has a Room Parent Program for grades K-5 at Marty Indian School. Members from the group support a classroom for the year providing school supplies, Christmas gifts, books, snacks, and other needs.

Donated books for the new elementary library at Marty.

Members filled the Feather Store at Marty with clothing, toiletries, school supplies and toys for the students to “purchase” with feathers earned for positive behavior.

Along with other partner groups helped provide goods to fill 300 bags for 14 Head Starts on the Rez. Each bag had a blanket, book, toothbrush and toothpaste, a doll or bear (provided by Dolls of Hope), crayons and a coloring book.

Sewed or purchased summer clothing for Marty, Martin area and Wanblee. Some members sew dresses for the girls every spring which the girls love.

Members sewed, knitted and crocheted or purchased blankets, afghans and quilts, mittens, hats, scarves, socks, underwear, boots and shoes to all areas we serve.

519 dolls and bears were donated by members participating in Penny N’s annual Doll Program. Each doll/bear had a carrier, blanket and wardrobe. Sent to all donation areas.

Five SFK members drove to SD delivering truckloads of donations to Jerome High Horse meeting him off the Rez.One member and her husband donated and delivered a trailer to Jerome for deliveries.

A generous member donated her tax refund check for school supplies and snacks at Marty Indian School.

Provided Bright Start in Pine Ridge with baby clothing, toiletries, etc.

Members sent school supplies for students in Marty, Martin and Wanblee.

Christmas gifts for children in Corn Creek (Rosebud) and White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society.

Provided blankets, toiletries, etc. for elders.

Sent art and craft supplies for the Youth Center in Martin which is currently closed due to the pandemic.

Donated gloves, warm clothing, coats and work boots for Jerome’s Woodchucks.

Members of SFK and partner groups sent clothing, diapers, food, etc and made cash donations to LFC to purchase appliances and household goods for the family of 15.

Some members sent fabric and supplies for girls to make a traditional ribbon skirt for Isnati Awicalowanpi or their coming of age ceremony.

Sent many baby blankets, clothing, toys and toiletries to Mary M at Bright Start.

For The Children of Pine Ridge Reservation

Bright Start Members sent sleepers, blankets, snowsuits, teething rings, lots of diapers and treats for mothers and their babies newborn to age

Ruby’s Homeless – Purchased tents to help protect the homeless from the elements when eating t meals outside provided by Ruby. Purchased gift cards from Walmart and local grocery Bouche Foods to purchase food, members also sent food online from Amazon and Walmart. One of their members made hundreds of face masks to help protect the homeless from the virus, another sent towels and another warm clothing

Rosebud Elementary School – Provided 315 students with pencils rulers, paper, erasers, colored pencils, and crayons to start the year off. Each student received a Christmas gift, truck/car for boys and a doll for girls and a blanket and clothing. Three hours after posting the list of 315 students, each had a donor beside their name as well as the teaching staff!

Wanblee Area – Members sent Christmas gifts for elders, mostly shawls and jewelry and hundreds of gifts for area children. Partnered with other groups providing needs, including clothing and furniture for the family of 15 with newborns

.Pine Ridge Veterans – Sent warm sweaters and food. Members sent 76 movies for entertainment and hats, scarves, soap and washcloth for Christmas

BEAR (Be Excited About Reading) Project – A new program in Pine Ridge for the group. They’re sending books, pillowcases and other current needs

Head Start – Partnered with other groups in filling 300 bags for Head Start students on Pine Ridge with a blanket, stuffie, crayons, coloring book, etc.

Halfknits

Head Start –

Members made 100 quilts for Head Start students on Pine RidgeMarty Elementary – 20 double fleece blankets, 60 hats, 20 headbands/ear muffs

Wanblee – 30 double fleece blankets, 22 shawls, 7 lap blankets,18 large afghans Bright Start and Wanblee – 46 baby quilts, half to each area

Martin/Kimmie – 6 twin size quilts, 30 baby hats, 28 baby afghans, 30 double fleece blankets, 22 shawls, 7 lap blankets, 18 large afghans

Project Linus Donated 100 baby and 100 child size quilts for Pine Ridge programs thru the Halfknit program

Pine Ridge Elders

Donated handmade afghans, sweaters, hats and mittens to Martin and Wanblee.

Supplied food several times for a man disabled from brain cancer.

Donated beading supplies and craft items.

Sent 18 copies of the book “Bullied But Not Broken”, warm hats and school supplies for Cheryl’s 5th grade class at Wolf Creek. The group also sponsors the prizes for the writing contest held each spring.

Sent cloth masks to Wanblee.

Athletic shoes for teen boys in Wanblee.

Lakota Friends Circle and partner groups had a very busy year even though the pandemic limited or in some cases halted work on projects. This year we hope to finalize work on the trailers and food pantry, plant the new garden and continue helping with current needs identified by area program managers. We also look forward to working with the new foster home for children when they open. Thank you all for your continued generosity, support and partnership with our friends on Pine Ridge, Rosebud and Yankton Sioux Reservations in South Dakota. YOU make it happen!

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December Program Updates

Happy New Year everyone!  We haven’t posted a blog in a while because our donation areas are coping with lockdowns and quarantines due to the virus so there hasn’t been a lot of news to report.  Life usually slows down on the Rez in the winter as the weather brings a halt to all outdoor projects, the exception being cutting firewood to keep families warm.  People on the Rez are frightened because of the virus as many live in multigenerational homes due to the extreme housing shortage that plagues most reservations.  Many have lost loved ones and memorial services are on hold for now so drive by funerals have become the norm in most communities as they try to contain the virus and prevent more deaths.  We’re told by our program managers that people DO wear masks and are so grateful that many of the donation boxes have them.  Please continue to include masks in your donations as they’re still needed.  We’ve also learned that vaccines have been designated for all Indian Reservations and residents will be vaccinated by tribal nurses, hopefully very soon.  People needing to be hospitalized are currently being sent out of state as there are no empty beds in South Dakota. 

Kids are not physically attending school and although they’ve been given I Pads for virtual learning, many families don’t have internet service and some parents aren’t very tech savvy.  Also living with 18-20 people in a 3 bedroom ranch home or trailer isn’t very conducive to learning.  Students do have some school supplies and receive weekly homework packets and food packages from the school but it takes a parent in charge to keep a child on task and make sure the work is being done, something all parents across the country are struggling with.   

Martin 

Kimmie Clausen, director of “My Space Youth Center” in Martin is trying to get permission to open the center for a few hours each day which would allow up to 4 kids at a time, masked of course, to work on the computers for one hour sessions.  Community members would be needed to supervise but so far not many have volunteered because of virus concerns.  Local authorities are currently deciding if they should reopen schools, they know students physically attending school learn more, can receive extra help if needed,  be observed for signs of neglect or abuse and guaranteed to receive two meals a day, but they also know with reopening comes the risk of spreading the virus.  Students will need to get their immunizations up to date as they’ve fallen behind since the pandemic started last spring.   

Children in the Martin area received Christmas gifts sent in by members of Sew For Kids, For The Children of Pine Ridge Reservation, Halfknits, Pine Ridge Elders and Dolls of Hope.  The kids were so excited to receive a Christmas gift!   Kimmie picked up 3 truckloads of boxes that were stored at LFC’s main office in Wanblee and quickly organized a work session with community volunteers and Head Start teachers at the local CAP office.  They assembled Christmas gifts for kids in the community and filled Head Start bags for all, currently registered students with a book, crayons/coloring book, stuffed animal, and a  blanket.  When Head Starts reopen kids can cuddle with their new blanket and stuffie during nap time and bring their books to share and have read to the class.  Some of the bags also had toothbrushes, toothpaste and activity cards/books.  Some kids only get dental supplies when the dentist visits once a year so their teeth aren’t in very good condition, something to keep in mind when sending a box of donations.  Kids also need help learning basic skills so they’re ready for kindergarten, SFK has plans to start making learning aids such as alphabets, shapes, numbers and colors so they can practice at home.  Some of the teachers helping fill bags were quite impressed when they saw the filled activity bags someone had sent for Christmas gifts and asked if they could keep one for ideas to use in their classroom.  We will continue to send books to all our donation areas so kids learn to develop a love for reading.  A few areas, including Wanblee, will soon have book boxes (Little Libraries) set up in areas where kids can come and get a new book whenever they need one.   

Members of SFK and partner groups were so generous this year that Kimmie was able to fulfill several requests for Christmas gifts for kids in the communities of Wounded Knee and Porcupine and Fraggle Rock, an area housing development.  She has always given to those who call with a need, if she can, and is so grateful for the generosity of all the groups donating to her that makes this possible. 

Kimmie is also the director of White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society in Mission, South Dakota on Rosebud Reservation.  This women’s shelter is admitting clients from Pine Ridge as well as Rosebud as Sacred Shawl in Martin and the new shelter in Kyle aren’t currently open.  Many of their clients have come down with Covid and, we’re sad to report, has taken the life of a staff member.  Kimmie is at high risk for a negative outcome should she contract the virus so she is mainly working from home and answering questions over the phone.  She is mainly in charge of policy updates, finances, inventory, advising advocates regarding policies and applying for funding to keep the shelter operating.  SFK and other partner groups sent Christmas gifts to the shelter for the clients and their children.  The staff was amazed to see all the beautiful gifts arrive and so thankful because they rarely get anything donated.  The clients and their children were thrilled with their gifts!  A big thanks to everyone that helped to make their Christmas special!

Kiimmie is looking at grants that could help fund the building of transitional housing for women after leaving a shelter.  Many women just keep returning to shelters because they haven’t had time to make positive changes in their lives so they end up returning to the abusive situations they left.  Fortunately at WBCWS, clients can stay longer and receive more help than clients at Sacred Shawl, mainly because they have more funding to hire staff for programs.  WBCWS was founded in 1977 to “serve our Relatives and their families whose lives are directly and indirectly impacted by violence”.   

Kimmie has also been working with others to write grants using the Covid Relief funds to construct a fire department on Pine Ridge.  Currently they do have some ability to fight grass fires but that’s about all so if you have a home fire the most likely outcome will be a complete loss as any response from a fire department will come from off the Rez.   Hopefully they will be awarded the grant as a fire department is sorely needed. 

Child Placement Center

Kimmie has been working with Barb Dull Knife at “A Child in Need of a Safe Place” (previously “Gather our Children Home”), a child placement center for children that need to be removed from unsafe homes.  They have applied again for a Covid grant to purchase a double wide trailer complete with water, electricity, plumbing and septic tank for placement on the 5 acres Barb Dull Knife owns and has donated for the center.  The newly elected tribal President, Kevin Killer is working with them on this and the fire department project.    Kevin has worked with youth programs, is a former SD state senator and is co-founder of a non-profit.  He’s hoping through some of his contacts with state government they can work together to get some projects and much needed improvements done on Pine Ridge.  The children’s home isn’t currently open due to the virus so children that need to be placed are sent to live with a relative that can take them in.    We can help get things to these families but will have to wait a little longer for specifics.  They plan to find and train a younger director to run the center.  Lots of plans are brewing but it all takes time.

Wanblee

LFC program manager, Jerome High Horse, has been busy making his regular deliveries of food and other donations that come in.  He recently met one of our SFK volunteers and her husband to pick up a trailer they so generously donated.  LFC had the hitch replaced, installed back lights, and purchased a license and weight sticker, all required by the state of South Dakota.  Jerome is so thankful for their gift and says it’s a great trailer which will get plenty of use.  He has also picked up food and clothing donations from people in Nebraska, Running Strong and from other donors delivering in the Wanblee area.  He sends his thanks and appreciation for all the generous gifts everyone has donated. 

Jerome and his volunteers have been out delivering wood but it’s been a struggle this year as many of the Woodchucks needed money to support their families so are working as monitors at the borders.  The tribe was able to build small shelters for workers at the site using funds from Covid Relief so they can get out of the frigid weather during their shift.  Jerome keeps them supplied with firewood and also works with their scheduler so he can use most of them on the weekend to cut and deliver wood to families in need.  Covid relief also allowed the tribe to sign up and pay people to deliver wood but Jerome didn’t sign up for the program as they can be called at any time to any destination on the Rez.  Jerome prefers to help Wanblee and the surrounding communities and although he has dependable vehicles many of his workers do not so they help Jerome.         

Jerome and Theresa were planning to have a Parade of Lights and a gift drop off to homes in Wanblee for Christmas but another local group also made the same plans, without informing the High Horse’s, so they took our gifts to Corn Creek, a small community just across the Pine Ridge border on Rosebud Reservation.  Many children in this community attend Crazy Horse school in Wanblee and Jerome provides them and a few other communities around Wanblee with food boxes whenever he can.  This is an impoverished community, as many are on the Rez, and many don’t have transportation so school buses have occasionally transported people to Wanblee to get a food box.  All the children in Corn Creek received Christmas gifts and their families a box of food, they were absolutely delighted!  These children would not have received a gift at all had it not been for the generous members of this group and partner groups “For The Children of PRR” and “Halfknits”.  “FTCOPRR” members also sent gifts for Wanblee elders, as they have done for many years, which were delivered to them before Christmas. We’re currently holding a coat, hat, mitten, blanket, shoe and boot drive for the Corn Creek area as many children came to get a gift not wearing a coat or shoes.  Christmas didn’t go as we had planned in Wanblee but  “sometimes things fall apart so better things can fall together” Marilyn Monroe. 

Jerome and Lakota Friends Circle are putting together plans for 2021 which includes finishing the pantry, getting the trailers ready for families and starting the garden project.  We’ll be providing updates on these projects periodically as work progresses.  Thanks to the many generous people making contributions to Lakota Friends Circle during the recent fundraiser South Dakota Gives held on Giving Tuesday, we now have enough funding to complete these projects and others.  Now we just need to get the virus under control so volunteers can come back to the Rez and help as they have in years past.   

Marty

Online learning will resume at Marty on January 6th, Monday through Thursday with Friday set aside for students needing or wanting extra help.  Hybrid learning, two days a week of in person learning and two days online, begins February 8th and continues through March 12th.  March 22nd will be the first day of regular classes which runs through May 14, graduation day.   

Many of the students and their family members either came down with the virus or were quarantined because of exposure to someone testing positive.  Paulita has been busy setting up the Feather Store for kids to shop when they return.  Since the school wasn’t open regular hours for most of December, room parents are waiting until this month to send Christmas gifts.  Teachers put together gifts for their classes from stock in the Feather Store.  Room parents are eager to start helping their classes again so hopefully the above schedule becomes a reality.  Many of you have donated books for Marty’s new elementary library, hopefully we’ll get a few pictures to share when the project is finished.  Thanks to all the room parents for their help and everyone donating books, clothing, school supplies and many other things for the Feather Store.         

Bright Start

Mary Mousseau at Bright Start helped new mothers and their babies/children as best she could between lockdowns and quarantines.  Many SFK members and others sent warm clothing, toiletries, diapers, books and toys, many of which were given out for Christmas.  We love working with Mary as she educates and helps women with the skills they need to be better mothers.  Mary asks us to help with specific needs if she sees a child in need during her home visits.  For The Children of PRR and Halfknits also send many donations for Mary’s babies which she is so grateful for.  Before our groups began helping she had no way to meet all her clients needs so a big thanks to everyone for helping the babies and making Mary’s job a little easier.       

 Well that concludes the last update for 2020.  We’ll be posting the project list for 2021 soon and LFC’s year end report.   

A simple Thank You hardly seems adequate to express how grateful we are for all the kindness and generosity you’ve shown this year to all areas we serve on the Rez.  Your gifts always mean so much to our friends but they’re even more special this year as people that struggle just to keep food on their table have had to endure the added burden of a pandemic.  We are truly honored to have the opportunity to work with such loving and caring people.   “Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference.”  Kevin Heath

We wish you all a Happy New Year!  Be safe, stay healthy and get your vaccine when available so we can all get back to a more normal life.   

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids.

2021 Project List

 

 

January – “Winter Warmth”

  1. Blankets – Warm blankets/afghans/quilts–Sizes baby/crib through queen and sleeping bags.
  2. Winter Accessories – Warm hats, scarves and mittens/gloves still needed.
  3. Warm Clothing/Coats – Still needed in all areas, baby/toddler sizes only for Bright Start
  4. Socks and Underwear – Toddler through adult, new only, also sports bras (gently used accepted).

Please ship to Wanblee and White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society and  Bright Start

 

February – “Education Month”

  1. Books – All ages infant through adult welcome.  Let’s get kids ready for “Read Across America” in March.  Marty Indian school loves the Dr. Seuss books to give to each child that day as they celebrate reading.  Books welcome in all donation areas.
  2. Education Bags – Tote bags filled with educational games and activities for Head Start age children.  Activity books, puzzles, markers, pencils, paper, learning aids such as flash cards, alphabet and number shapes, etc.  Ship to Kimmie at WBCWS
  3. Head Start Needs – Sanitizing wipes, art aprons, finger paints and paper, educational games.  Ship to WBCWS
  4. School Supplies – Paper, dry erase markers, markers, pencils, glue sticks, crayons.

All donation areas can use books and school supplies

March “Bags, Linens and Toiletries”

  1. Cloth Bags – Are an ongoing need for all areas we serve.  They’re used to pick up food, clothing and other goods from our donation areas and crisis/comfort bags for women at the shelter. 
  2. Bed Linens and Pillows– Sheets and pillowcases sizes crib through queen.  New or gently used are both acceptable.  Bed size pillows, new only.  One of kids favorite gifts continues to be a new pillow with brightly colored pillowcase.
  3. Ladies Purses – Requested by White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society.  New or gently used acceptable.
  4. Toiletries and Towels – Shampoo, deodorant, soap, body wash, toothpaste/toothbrush, sanitary supplies, baby toiletries.

All donation areas

April/May  “Summer Sewing” 

  1. Summer Clothing – Sew or purchase summer clothing and sun hats for toddlers through teens.  Shorts, capris, dresses and skirts, light weight pants, leggings, T-shirts, tops, light jackets and summer weight PJ’s in sizes toddler to 16/18 or adult size small for all areas.  Baby/toddler size only for Bright Start.
  2. Shoes – Sandals, flip flops and other summer shoes, all sizes, all areas

June  “Women and Babies”  

  1. Baby Needs–Onesies, sleepers, sleep sacks, sun hats, shorts, diaper covers, pacifiers, diapers, both disposables in sizes 3-6 and cloth,, diaper bags, and all baby needs.  Baby clothing sizes 3 to 24 months for Bright Start, NB sizes not needed as babies on the Rez are larger. Summer and winter clothing accepted Bright Start and WBCS
  2. Women’s Clothing –  All sizes pants, shorts/capris (elastic waist fits more sizes), tops, T-shirts, socks, hoodies, jackets, underwear (new only), bras and sports bras (gently used acceptable), sun hats.  Wanblee and WBCWS
  3. Shoes – All sizes infant through adult.  Sandals, flip flops, athletic shoes.  Wanblee and WBCWS
  4. Toiletries – Shampoo, deodorant, soap, sanitary supplies, toothpaste/toothbrush, baby toiletries sunscreen for moms and babies   Bright Start, Wanblee and WBCWs
  5. Baby/toddler books and toys  Bright Start and WBCWS

 

July/August  “Back To School”  

  1. School Clothes – Sew or purchase pants, shirts, skirts, jackets, hoodies, etc. in sizes 4T to 16/18 or adult S.
  2. Underwear – New only and sports bras (may be gently used) for older girls, sizes 5 to adult S/M.
  3. Shoes and Socks – Athletic type most popular, anything waterproof desirable as most don’t have boots.
  4. Toiletries – Soap, shampoo and sanitary napkins/tampons.
  5. School Supplies – paper, pens/pencils, markers, crayons, etc.

All areas except Mary Mousseau can use any of the above.  Mary works with babies and very young children.

 

September/October   “Winter/Christmas Begins”

  1. Clothing – Sew or purchase winter clothing, pants, sweatshirts, PJ’s, long underwear, heavy socks in sizes toddlers through adult.
  2. Outerwear – Winter coats, hoodies, snow pants, snowsuits, mittens/gloves, hats, scarves, infant through adult.
  3. Boots – Snow, fashion and work boots, waterproof or heavier shoes (high-tops better), toddler through adult.
  4. Blankets – Including quilts, fleece blankets, afghans, and receiving blankets for baby.  All sizes needed up to queen.
  5. Christmas Gifts – Start working on gifts.

 

November/December “Christmas”

  1. Infant/toddler – age appropriate toys such as stuffed animals or soft dolls, puzzles, coloring books and crayons, blocks, soft books, etc.
  2. Kids 3-7 – dolls, trucks, stuffed animals, balls, Legos, crafts, games, stickers, coloring books and crayons/markers, drawing pad, play-doh, pillow with case There is always a shortage of boys toys so lets make sure we send for them too!
  3. Kids 8-12 – sports items, craft bags, art pad and pencils, adult coloring books, hair accessories, pillow with case, board games, diary or journal,
  4. 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.
  5. Donate Funds – For propane, food and other emergency needs to Lakota Friends Circle.

 

The main project list won’t change but there may be additions as we learn of special needs from the areas we help.  Work on your favorite project or try something new, we don’t expect members to donate every month, just help when you can.  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.  Please review the donation guidelines here and read the blogs for more information about monthly projects and current needs. Here are the addresses to send items to the different areas. If you use the Give Back Box for WBCWS , Lakota Friends Circle or Marty Indian School, please follow the shipping directions on the site. Make sure if you use the Give Back Box , that you do not use the labels given but send an email to Monika at info@givebackbox.com and ask for a UPS quantum label for each box . Thanks .

 

Christmas on the Rez

It’s hard to believe Christmas is just six weeks away.  Everyone always looks forward to this time of year, especially children, but the holiday season is going to be very different on the Rez this year due to the pandemic.  Since active coronavirus cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are currently at record highs in South Dakota, Christmas parties will not be held this year.  There may be a “Parade of Lights” in Wanblee and the High Horse’s and their volunteers will drop off gifts outside homes if they’re not on another lockdown.  Lakota Friends Circle will provide candy to add to children’s gifts.   . 

Lakota Friends Circle and members of partner groups Sew For Kids, For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation, Pine Ridge Elders, and Halfknits join forces each year to provide Christmas gifts for children and elders and warm blankets, clothing, coats, boots and many other essentials to help families stay warm during the long winter.   We’ve all been very busy working on winter items for the last few months and will continue through the first months of 2021.  

Members of  For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation  (FTCOPRR) have provided  Christmas gifts for each of the 300 students attending Rosebud Elementary School on Rosebud Reservation.  They’ve also sent hundreds of gifts, including many for Wanblee elders, to Jerome and Theresa High Horse  which will be distributed to area families.  This generous group also sent gifts, including warm winter clothing,  to the Veteran’s Home in Pine Ridge for their 15 male residents and food to Ruby, a retired elder from Pine Ridge who feeds the homeless in her area, sometimes reaching 300-500 people, mostly financed from using her Social Security check and donations she receives from FTCOPRR, Lakota Friends Circle and a few other groups.  They’ve also been sending gifts to Mary Mousseau, the Bright Start nurse who works with women and their children (up to age 3) so she can bring a little holiday cheer to her clients when she makes home visits.  To say they’ve been busy and very generous is an understatement!  Thanks ladies for all your hard work bringing holiday cheer to Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations!   

Kat’s group in Texas, Halfknits, sent many warm blankets and shawls to Jerome High Horse in Wanblee, blankets and hats to Mary Mousseau in Pine Ridge for her Bright Start clients and 100 blankets to the Head Start “Bag and Blanket” project (see below).  Marty Indian School also received 20 warm blankets, 7 will go to Carol’s second grade class that she sponsors.  Thank you Kat and the volunteers from your group and from Project Linus in Dallas, Texas for giving the gift of warmth this holiday season!  

Pine Ridge Elders members have been busy knitting/crocheting afghans, hats, mittens and blankets for all our donation areas and for a special class of students at Wolf Creek School on Pine Ridge they’ve been helping for several years.  Although this is a small group, the work their generous members have done for Pine Ridge since their founding is simply amazing.  They are some of the first responders when a need arises, thank you ladies for all you do to help our donation areas but also the kindness you show and the help you give to individual families asking for help.  

Sew For Kids will be focusing on sending gifts and other needed items to Kimmie Clausen, director of White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society on Rosebud Reservation for their clients.  In addition to providing safe shelter for victims of domestic violence WBCWS also provides services for teens and young adults ages 11-21 and their families who are impacted by dating violence, stalking and sexual assault.  The shelter needs toys for the kids playroom, the ones they have are pretty much worn out or broken.  Board games, puzzles, art and craft supplies, blocks, dolls and toy trucks would all be good toys for the kids.  They also need gifts for women and children that will be staying at the shelter over Christmas.  Toiletries, comb/brush, manicure items, adult coloring books with colored pencils are good gifts for women.  They would love to keep a supply of kids blankets and stuffed animals in stock so they could give one to each child arriving at the shelter.       

SFK is once again working on the “Bag and Blanket” project for Head Start students on Pine Ridge.  We will be making/buying a cloth tote bag and fill it with crayons, coloring book, toothbrush and toothpaste, stuffed animal or doll, a book, a learning activity such as flash cards or workbook and a blanket for the 350 students (ages 3-5) of 14 Head Starts in three districts in the Martin and Wanblee areas.  Children haven’t actually attended classes due to the pandemic so most have not had access to books or other educational materials.  These are the formative years for young children (90% of a child’s brain is developed by age 5) and Head Start gives them a good foundation so they can begin kindergarten prepared and build on their future learning success.   The non-profit Dolls of Hope has provided 350 stuffed animals/dolls for the kids, many thanks to Sarah and all her volunteers for their generosity!  This group does wonderful work, if you like to make dolls and stuffed animals please consider donating some of your creations to this great non-profit.   We have about 100 blankets from Kat’s Halfknits group and SFK members are busy working on the rest we need.  Kimmie Clausen’s sister oversees the 14 Head Starts we’re supplying and will assemble the bags after everything is received, teachers will then deliver the filled bags to the students homes.  Last year we had 100 students but word got around to other teachers and they asked us to please add their students in this year which we were happy to do.  The stuffed animals need has been filled but we can still use your help for everything else.  Thanks so much in advance if you’re able to help the students.  

We’re also asking for book donations for kids to young adults to supply book boxes that will be placed in Wanblee, Martin and Pine Ridge.  Since there are no libraries for kids in these areas and they don’t currently have access to school libraries this is a way to get books to them so they don’t fall behind on their reading skills.  Please send your book donations to Lakota Friends Circle, Attention Kimmie or Jerome High Horse, address below. 

Marty Elementary School’s 70 registered students are still unable to physically attend classes due to rising covid cases in their area.  The school will open after the first of the year if cases are at a manageable level.  Students are receiving weekly work packets and those that have internet access are attending virtual classes as well.  SFK members in the room parent program will be sending Christmas gifts for their classes but the Feather Store still needs toiletries, school supplies, toys, and warm winter clothing, they could also use kids books for the new library they’re opening.   

Head Start “Bag and Blanket” needs and/or gift ideas for clients at the shelter.

  1. Infant/toddler – age appropriate toys such as stuffed animals or soft dolls, puzzles, coloring books and crayons, blocks, soft books, etc.
  2. Kids 5-7 – dolls, trucks/cars, stuffed animals, balls, Legos, art and craft supplies, games, stickers, coloring books and crayons, play-doh, pillow and pillowcase. There’s always a shortage of boys toys so lets make sure we send for them too!
  3. Kids 8-12 – sports items, craft bags, art pad and pencils, adult coloring books, hair accessories, pillow and pillowcase, board games, diary or journal, etc.
  4. Women – toiletries, manicure sets, hair accessories, comb/brush, adult coloring book and pencils, etc.

Where to Send   

  • If you’re sending donations for the Head Start “Bag and Blanket” project or anything for Kimmie at White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society and using the “Give Back Box” program please use the Lakota Friends Circle label on the site until we can get their label up.  Please write on the outside of your box “Attention Kimmie Clausen” and Jerome will make sure it is delivered to her.  Include your name and email in your box for acknowledgment.   If you wish to ship directly to the shelter (at full price) please use this address: White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society, Attention Kimmie Clausen, 291 North Main Street (or PO Box 227 if using USPS), Mission, SD 57555.  Phone number 605-856-2317.  For a charitable tax deduction fill out the form and include it with a SASE in your box.  Keep a copy for your records until the form is returned.
  • Any donations for the Wanblee area/High Horse’s please use the Lakota Friends Circle label on the Give Back Box site. For a charitable donation follow the information above.
  • Donations for Marty Indian School can be shipped through the Give Back Box program, choosing their label on the site. For a charitable donation follow the information above 

     

Items for Christmas should arrive by the end of the first week of December. We will work on the Head Start project until we get enough donations to complete the 350 bags, we’re hoping by December 31.   

 Please remember Lakota Friends Circle will be raising funds through “South Dakota Gives” and “Giving Tuesday” on Facebook December 1, 2020.  The funds will be used for food and wood delivery this winter and other projects next year including scholarships for the new education program that helps students pay for books when attending college or trade school.   

We would like to give a special thanks to SFK member and moderator Penny N for all the hard work she puts in every year managing her annual Doll Program.  Penny starts the program in June so volunteers have plenty of time to finish dressing their dolls or teddy bears before Christmas.  Everyone enjoys seeing all the pictures of the dolls/bears and their beautiful wardrobes before they head off to make little girls and boys happy on the Rez.  Penny’s program sent 500 dolls and bears to South Dakota last year! 

We also want to thank members of all partner groups for being so generous with your time and talents.  Families will have happier holidays and stay a little warmer this winter because of your kindness.  Thank You!!     

 Thanks from Sew For Kids