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 2021

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  

 

 

Area Updates and Needs

COVID cases are rising in South Dakota including Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. Pine Ridge had 271 new cases reported in the last 7 days and the state is reporting over 11,000 active cases and record hospitalizations. Both reservations are currently in lockdown until October 30 in hopes of bringing their numbers down. Those lockdown dates may change depending on caseload. Several families have been quarantined and there are more deaths being reported. Travel is limited to “critical essential” only, so children are not in school nor are they receiving their learning packets. Your donations are still being received and will be distributed after the lockdown, many thanks to everyone who has contributed. Only those approved to deliver essential goods can do so. Jerome High Horse, our Lakota Friends Circle program manager is not on that list this time. For those who choose to venture out, they risk a $250 fine. Jerome  is so thankful for everything our groups have sent, things normally go out as soon as they’re received because there are so many needs and people have been prevented from leaving the Rez to shop for food and clothing, etc. There are some COVID grants available this year to help get food and propane/wood to families on PRR and Rosebud. Blankets, hats, mittens, scarves/cowls, coats, hoodies, , socks,  boots, and warm clothing are still needed in all the areas we help that are open to receive them. 

Jerome and the Woodchucks are busy cutting wood in rancher’s creeks ( it’s not allowed this week due to the lockdown). Our Woodchuck drive for women and men’s coats and boots has been completed ,safety gloves and goggles were recently sent to them but they still need warm mittens/gloves for loading, stacking and delivering wood. Warm hats would be greatly appreciated too. Thank you to all who helped us meet this goal. 

Jerome and his volunteers finished the cement foundation for the new pantry and are hoping to finish the building before the end of the year if everyone stays healthy and there are no snowstorms. They have all the supplies needed to finish the job thanks to generous LFC donors. The pandemic has affected their ability to get volunteers as they have to social distance while working which is easier to do when cutting wood outdoors but not so much when working indoors next to someone. Many of the men that were available for helping the community have been sent to the border check stations and the few volunteers they did have are now cutting wood as that is now a bigger priority.

This coming week, if the lockdown is declared over on October 30th, Jerome and his family are planning on decorating a truck with lights and a few Halloween decorations, and dropping off a few treats on the doorstep, of each family with kids. If the tribe adds another week to the lockdown, they would do it the following weekend. They think everyone, but especially the kids, need a little cheering up. Lakota Friends Circle provided a small amount of money for the the treat bags, thanks to our donors.  

We are continuing our work with Kimmie Clausen in her new position as Director of White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society (WBCWS) on Rosebud Reservation in Mission, South Dakota. Kimmie says they are receiving clients there from Pine Ridge Reservation as Sacred Shawl is looking for a director and the new shelter in Kyle hasn’t been able to open due to COVID restrictions. WBCWS has had a few cases of COVID too and since Kimmie was exposed has been quarantining at home, she’s doing fine and getting a lot of work done. This is the second time she was exposed, the first was while working with a client at Sacred Shawl that had initially tested negative but later positive when retested.

WBCWS can use our help. They’ve never had the amount of support that Sacred Shawl had from all of you. They do go to the local Dollar Store to get some needs but that cuts into their budget for operating expenses. Please read the previous blog and visit their website for more information about this organization. We’re hoping some of you may be able to help with some of their needs. Children’s toys there are minimal and in pretty rough condition so they can use toys, puzzles, games, craft items and books for ages infant through age 16, male kids over 14 are put in a motel with their moms as are all domestically abused men. They would love to give a blanket and stuffed animal to all children who come to the shelter, especially the younger ones, experiencing trauma. Clothing such as sweats, hoodies, hats, mittens, socks, underwear, etc. in sizes infant to 16/18 or adult S. The adult clients need things to keep them busy such as books, puzzle books, puzzles, adult coloring books and colored pencils, stationery, pens, journals, etc. Our previous blog lists more needs. Social distancing and masks are required in the shelter, although children are more difficult to keep apart. Cleaning is done regularly especially kids play items. All clients admitted come through Pine Ridge Hospital, Kyle l or the police department and must test negative for COVID. They have rooms upstairs in the shelter where new clients are quarantined if they are positive. Food is left outside the door and rounds are made every half hour to make sure everyone is ok. Social isolation is not the best thing for women in trauma but under the current situation must be done.

We’re hoping to get WBCWS registered with the “Give Back Box” program very soon, watch their site for it’s posting. Until then you can use the Lakota Friends Circle choice on the “Give Back Box” site and print in large letters on top of the box “Attention Kimmie Clausen”.  Kimmie will either pick up the boxes in Wanblee or Jerome will deliver them to her in Martin.

If you choose to mail directly to WBCWS (at full price) 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

605-856-2317

For a charitable donation , fill out the form and mail with a SASE  Keep a copy for your records until you get the form back.

Kimmie  is busy working on grants for the child placement center in Porcupine “A Child in Need of a Safe Place”, which was previously “Gather Our Children Home”.The first  grant she put in, is a start up funding grant for new non profits. Kimmie recently toured the facility and says she was really impressed. They’ve had many obstacles to overcome before opening the foster home, the latest being COVID, finding staff to work at the center is hard with all the restrictions that are now in place across the Rez. We have photos of the new foster home to share once we hear of a firm opening date. 

In addition to the child placement grant, Kimmie is taking advantage of the SD Covid grants. She has been doing some consulting work with Partnership For Housing. One of the places this project works is in the Fraggle Rock Housing project. With kids not in school due to the pandemic, she applied for a grant to provide 50 small desks and chairs and a blackboard so kids would sit down at home in a designated “school area” and do their homework each day, using the packets they receive weekly from the school. Kids can not afford to miss a year out of school, so this might be a way to bring school to home. It cost $240 per set . If this pilot project works as envisioned,  Kimmie will write a bigger grant for other areas.  

Kimmie also wrote a grant for book boxes ” Little Libraries” to put in Fraggle Rock in Pine Ridge and Sun Rise in Martin , housing projects. They are going to encourage kids to take a book, read it , return it and then take another. Kids on the Rez are generally 2 years behind in their reading level, one of the reasons being lack of books. The main library on the Rez is in Kyle, and is not open and too far to travel for most families. There  are some classroom libraries but kids are not in school. This project is a way to get kids reading and not losing the skills they have acquired up to now. Some of the books will come from the My Space Youth Center library but they do need book donations for all ages. I have also applied for books from the non profit First Book and think that I can get some from them for free. In addition to providing books , Kimmie is encouraging kids to read or parents to read to their kids for 20-30 minutes a day. They are being asked to keep a list of all the books they read and at the end of the month, they can hand it in to see who is reading and how many books/month. Kimmie will offer a small incentive, (controversial issue) but  it might be the way to get kids motivated. The Little Library that Jack and Tracy’s  daughter, built for Wanblee is going to put up in the near future. Jerome and his grandsons are going to do it soon and have found a location. They have 12 inches of snow on the ground and have had a few blizzards already. It is cold outside now so it’s why warm items are needed. Hopefully kids will take advantage of the book boxes and choose a book. Once a child gets the reading “bug” they will pick up a book. Adult books are also needed as people are locked in houses and need something to do. And if kids see parents reading , it sets an example for the child. Again if this project takes off they would like to replicate it in different areas. 

Kimmie also will open the youth center in Martin with the assistance of a few volunteers so that kids who do not have internet access at home, can come for a limited time to do their homework. The tribe provided I pads for the kids , but they are only able  to benefit from them if they have internet service. CDC guidelines will be followed, with mask wearing, distancing, sanitizing. The center will be open only for a few hours a day. Kimmie plans to apply for grants to have a space for kids to work on computers in each community. With no one knowing how long  we will be dealing with COVID, it is imperative that kids keep learning . 

Kimmie would love to repeat the Head Start project we did last year. Kids are registered for the program but have not been able to attend yet due to COVID restrictions. Last year SFK and partner groups provided a tote bag filled with a blanket, stuffed animal and a book for each student. This year we would like to add crayons and a coloring book and Kimmie would like to add some number/alphabet /color/shape cards, maps and other small educational items that parents can work on together with their children. We’ll add some information to the bag about the importance of reading to children every day, maybe our librarians can help us with that. There are 14 Head Starts each with 25 kids approximately, and those Head Starts cover LaCreek, Eagle Nest and Pass Creek District, We can get several blankets from our partner group, Halfknits and from Project Linus  in Dallas Texas, several stuffed teddy bear or dolls from Dolls of Hope and several books from some of our volunteers but we’ll need tote bags, more blankets and stuffed animals , crayons, coloring books, age appropriate books and maybe a toothbrush and toothpaste for kids that don’t have access to a dental clinic. Head Start provides comprehensive early childhood education, health and nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children, SFK and partner groups are thrilled to help support this program on the Rez. It was a huge success last year. We will put up a spreadsheet on the site soon. 

Items for this project will be sent using the Give Back Box program, Lakota Friends Circle label.  If you send this way , which will save you money, please put on the box, Attention Kimmie Clausen. If you want to send via the post office use this address but you will not get the reduced rates. 

Lakota Friends Circle, 

c/o Jerome High Horse

Attention Kimmie Clausen

PO Box 317

Wanblee SD, 57577

605-441-9863

Charitable Tax form for Wanblee   Fill out the form and add a SASE if you want it returned. Thank you.

lfc-non-cashdonationreceipt-1

We will address Bright Start , the baby program we help with  and Marty Indian school in another blog so that you are not overwhelmed  with information. Next month we will talk about Christmas.

Thanks from Sew For Kids for your help with these projects. Together we can make a difference to the kids. 

Happy Halloween !! Stay home and be safe. 

 

 

 

 

Generosity

The dictionary defines generosity as being kind, generous and charitable. Those showing generosity are happy to give time, money, food or kindness unselfishly to people in need. Generosity has benefits for the giver as well as for the receiver. Generous people tend to be happier, have less stress, lower blood pressure and lower rates of depression, they have better relationships with others and enjoy better health overall leading to longer and more fulfilling lives. Generous people also give of their time and talents, show empathy and give kind and encouraging words to others. SFK members and everyone supporting our Native American friends exude generosity!

My friend Janet and I started our Sew For Kids blog about 10 years ago. Both of us had spent some time on the Rez and saw firsthand how our crafting skills might be used to help others. While those skills have provided many warm blankets, mittens and hats to families we just couldn’t make everything they needed. Native Americans living on reservations in South Dakota live in conditions comparable to some third world countries where jobs are scarce and schools and hospitals are inadequate. People struggle just to keep food on the table, clothe their children and find a place to live in an area with severe housing shortages. If they’re lucky enough to find a home that isn’t occupied with 12 or more people they must find resources to pay their heating and electric bills and hopefully there’s running water, if not they’ll have to fill buckets and jugs from a friend or neighbor that has water. Life is hard on the Rez, being poor is very time consuming as much of your day is spent looking for the resources just to get through another day.

This is where SFK and supporting groups come in. When we receive a request for help we immediately post the need on our site and very shortly, sometimes minutes, we have several members stepping forward to help. Having a group of people always eager to help others is a blessing, we can accomplish a lot in a short time and no one need be overextended. Kids may need clothes and supplies for school, elders may need incontinence items, diabetic socks, a warm blanket or a pair of shoes. Babies may need clothes, diapers or formula, teens may need toiletry items so they can maintain their dignity and self esteem, girls may need sanitary items so they can go to school and learn instead of staying home 4-5 days every month. The Woodchucks in Wanblee cut wood for area residents throughout the year, sometimes in frigid temps, and need warm clothing, work boots, and accessories so they can ensure families have a continuous supply of wood when they need it most. Cutting, hauling and stacking wood is hard work, these dedicated men and women are happy to volunteer their services so they can give back to their community. There are many talented crafters helping the Rez but not all needs can be crafted so these same generous folks along with many others are also willing to donate funds for the purchase of diapers, school supplies or food. The result – a baby is not wet or hungry and a mother isn’t stressed or in fear of abusing her child because her baby can’t be quieted and a child has the clothing and supplies to attend school giving them the opportunity to get an education and have a brighter future.

As we head into the colder months we really need your help to keep people warm and food on the table. Winters on the Rez are a real struggle for most families. We need funding to fuel and repair the trucks that will deliver food and funding to keep the chain saws in good working order so the Woodchucks can continue their work through the winter. Between South Dakota Gives and Giving Tuesday on December 1, we’re hoping to raise enough funding, $10,000 to $12,000, to keep these vital programs going through the year. The trucks not only deliver food and wood but Jerome, our program manager, also uses them to pick up loads of goods donated by other organizations or single donors as was the case this summer when several SFK members brought donations and met Jerome off the Rez due to the pandemic. We’re also hoping to raise additional funds for the LFC Scholarship Program so students wanting to further their education can receive assistance for books and/or supplies. You can read more about the first recipient of the program here. They have more students waiting to apply for scholarships if they can find adequate funding.

We want to thank all of you again for the generosity you recently showed to a soon to be family of 15. You’ve made life so much easier for them in so many ways. The family still cannot understand why perfect strangers would want to help them. We know why.

Although this year has been more challenging than most due to the pandemic, we all still want to help our Native American friends. Everyone has had to tighten their belts, some more than others. Give what you can comfortably afford, it’s not the size of the donation but the spirit in which it is given. “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has!” -Margaret Mead 

Many, many thanks from Sew For Kids for your continued support and may you all reap the benefits of generosity!

Program Changes for Sew For Kids

Changes occur in all organizations as programs are evaluated to ensure they’re performing as envisioned.  Sometimes there’s a change in leadership as is the case with Kimmie Clausen who has been the Director of Sacred Shawl, My Space Youth Center and the CDC in Martin for the past 7 years. Kimmie has done much for her community including applying for and receiving funding for the above mentioned programs, for rural improvements through the CDC to help elders in the district and was instrumental in receiving grants for the Native American Health Clinic in Martin so people could have access to health care in their own community instead of making the 90 mile round trip to Pine Ridge or Rapid City.

Over the past month there have been several new members added to the board that oversees the CDC and it’s programs which includes the shelter and youth center. With those new additions came many new ideas and opinions that don’t coincide with Kimmie’s values and dreams for the community.  One of the new rules implemented is board members will be directly involved with the day to day decisions about issues that may arise with shelter staff, something Kimmie cannot abide by. When Kimmie applies for and receives grants, those grants come with rules that specify the roles of advocates, their education level and training and other policies that keep both clients and staff safe. After 7 years of hard work building and successfully running the Sacred Shawl Shelter and the other programs, Kimmie has left her position at the CDC.

When one door closes another opens, Kimmie has accepted the position of Executive Director of White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society, (WBCWS) a domestic abuse shelter in Mission, South Dakota on the Rosebud Reservation that has been operating for over 40 years. They’ve been without a director for over a year and have been struggling since. Kimmie was asked by the Native Women’s Consortium of the Great Plains if she would accept the position. This 40 bed shelter needs help writing grants to fund building maintenance, update and maintain current programs, and add more staffing. The shelter also serves men and has a confidential agreement with local hotels to provide a safe place for them.  Sacred Shawl and White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society have shared clients over the years, when one shelter didn’t have enough room they were transferred to the other. Kimmie has also been able to share with them some of the donations our groups have sent her which really speaks to your generosity. WBCWS has never had the amount of support that Sacred Shawl has.

Kimmie’s main job will be writing grants for the facility and working alongside the program manager, who’s been serving as interim director, and someone Kimmie has a good working relationship with.  Kimmie has become very familiar with the grants available to shelters, has contacts all over the country and is well known and respected for using funding appropriately. She will spend 2 days a week at Mission and 2 days back in Martin using her home and/or the youth center as her office until kids get back from school. We will continue supporting Sacred Shawl but all donations will now be sent to White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society (WBCWS) in Mission to be used by both organizations (see temporary shipping instructions after the needs list below). Kimmie will bring some of our donations to Sacred Shawl as needed and comfort bag items for survivors of sexual assault to Pine Ridge Hospital and the clinic in Kyle.

Another domestic abuse shelter has been built by the tribe in Kyle (40 miles from Martin), with a tentative opening date of October 2020. They’re currently looking for groups to donate furnishings for rooms, a few local churches have agreed to help. Kimmie may be doing some consulting work here as well, helping the new Director with operational requirements, staffing, and grant writing.  Earlier this year Kimmie applied for the “C Task” tribal grant as she has done for the past 7 years to help fund Sacred Shawl but this new shelter also applied and was awarded the grant because they’re a tribal program. One of the worries Kimmie had when leaving Sacred Shawl is that the other grants she applied for to replace the loss of the “C Task” grant were being withdrawn by her funders leaving her to wonder how long Sacred Shawl can stay open. There is currently no one qualified to run the shelter there are only the advocates that oversee the clients and their needs. If they have to shut down it’s possible Sacred Shawl can be acquired by WBCWS to use as additional rooms or perhaps used as transitional housing for clients which Kimmie has been advocating for. She recently visited Thunder Valley on PRR to see their housing and get ideas, and is applying for housing grants and is working with the head of tribal housing. Too many of the shelter clients are returning as they’re going back to the same toxic environment they left. Transitional housing would provide safe housing so women can get their lives in order, develop better life skills and improve their education so they have more job opportunities. Housing on reservations is in short supply and is why you may find 20 or more people living in a small 3 bedroom home. That situation in itself is a spark for domestic violence and abuse  and if one or more occupants are abusing drugs or alcohol things are even more likely to get out of control. Add to that a lack of financial resources and you set in motion a cycle of abuse.

What will happen to the other programs that Sew For Kids and its partner groups have supported?  Kimmie will oversee the programs she started but donations will not go through the CDC office in Martin as we cannot guarantee they will be used as intended without Kimmie supervising their distribution. She doesn’t want to see the programs she started go under and loves to help the children and keeps a special watch on the most vulnerable in the community.

Kimmie is also on the Board of Directors and advising “Child in Need of Care Center” in Porcupine, formerly known as “Emergency Foster Care Shelter”.  She spent last weekend reviewing their books and operations and is applying for some grants. The center will need $280,000 a year to operate, Kimmie is volunteering her time to work on this project as she sees a great need for children on the Rez. They will need our help with clothing and other goods but the day to day expenses will be funded through grants. The center now has a state license, non-profit status, an insurance premium of $17,000 paid and are in the process of screening employees to meet state requirements. We’ll have more information about the care center in an upcoming blog. We have applied for the Give Back Box program for this non profit and are awaiting its posting on their site.

Needs for White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society:

  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Children’s shoes (all sizes)
  • Diapers of all sizes
  • Baby products ( baby bath, lotion, powder, wipes, baby bottles)
  • Blankets
  • Toiletry items (paper towels, toilet paper).
  • Hygiene products (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, sanitary napkins, tampons.)
  • Socks, underwear (women and children)
  • Bed sheets (full, twin)
  • Material for quilt making
  • Beads and thread
  • Sewing Machines
  • G.E.D. study materials and books

We’re hoping to get WBCWS registered with the “Give Back Box” program very soon. Watch their site for its posting. Until then, if you have donations for the two shelters or anything for Kimmie’s programs, you can use the Lakota Friends Circle choice on the “Give Back Box” site and print in large letters on top of the box “Attention Kimmie Clausen”.  Kimmie will either pick up the boxes in Wanblee or Jerome will deliver them to her in Martin.

If mailing directly to WBCWS, (remember there are no $15 shipping rates available until they’re registered), 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

605-856-2317

For a charitable donation , fill out the form and mail with a SASE  Keep a copy for your records until you get the form back https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DiIOGlHyI04HeMpn6CHZfcOsQ4spdSMJzqCMv1ZxmNg/edit?usp=sharing

We hope you will continue to support Kimmie’s programs; Sacred Shawl, My Space Youth Center and now White Buffalo Calf Women’s Society in Mission. Many thanks for your generosity!

Thanks from Sew For Kids

Give Back Box Program

Most members of SFK and our partner groups ship packages to Pine Ridge or Marty Indian School at some time. We’ve all felt the excitement of getting our donations ready, maybe new dresses for the girls, warm knitted hats for families, carefully wrapped Christmas gifts, or a quilt for a new baby and later feel the pain of hearing the shipping clerk say, “that will be $50 please”! Even if we have family and friends donating goods or we’re making things from our stash we’re still on the hook to pay for shipping the box which can be more than we paid for the contents.  ll major shipping companies and the USPS continually increase rates and some add on extra fees including fuel costs even though gas prices have decreased since the pandemic. We supporters are just paying too much and it limits how much we can donate!  Some things are more economical to purchase online such as toiletries, diapers or food, but many of us are crafters and we express our love for others by using our skills to create something unique that can’t be purchased in a store.

Barb Reinert, Treasurer for Lakota Friends Circle, has also felt the pain of expensive shipping costs and, being the bargain hunter she is, was determined to find a cheaper option.  Although it’s taken much longer to find and set up than expected due to the pandemic, Barb is now happy to report the new shipping program at Givebackbox.com is ready just follow the instructions below.

This option is only available to donors living in the US and for shipments to three destinations:  Lakota Friends Circle (Jerome and Theresa in Wanblee), Sacred Shawl Society (shelter, CDC and youth center in Martin), and Marty Indian School. You can use any sturdy box, maximum size limits are 70 pounds and 108″ ( length( longest side)  + girth).     

Instructions

  1.  Go to the website givebackbox.com and create an account with a password.
  2. From the menu (click on bars in upper left corner) choose “Donate” then scroll down and click “All Charities”.
  3. Go to page 2 of the list and choose destination from our three logos, then “add to cart”.
  4. Check out, price is $15 per box. You will get labels but do not print but email info@givebackbox.com and ask Monika for unique numbers for each box, then download those labels 
  5. Please include a SASE or postcard in the box so they can let you know that your package has been received. If you need a charitable donation form , find it under the organizations listed here  https://sewforkids.wordpress.com/patterns-and-guidelines/where-to-send/
  6. Attach label and drop your package off at any UPS or hand to a UPS driver who is delivering a package to the house.
The premise of GiveBackBox is to reduce waste by reusing boxes you receive in the mail from ordering online to donate your used household items to charities.  This link explains their mission.  Although you’re helping with a portion of the shipping costs through the $15 per box fee, large companies like Amazon and Walmart are subsidizing the additional costs.
We can’t thank Barb enough for finding this amazing program for us!! We hope this relieves some of the stress on you and your pocketbook when mailing packages.  Barb Reinert is available to answer your questions.
Thanks as always from Sew For Kids for all you do.

September/ October Projects and Area Updates

Although summer is winding down, many of us are still dealing with extreme heat, droughts, fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. We’re still fighting the COVID 19 global pandemic and it’s still a threat in all 50 states including South Dakota where we provide assistance to our Native American friends on Pine Ridge, Rosebud and Yankton Sioux Reservations. Sew For Kids is under the umbrella of Lakota Friends Circle, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.   We are one of the partner groups working with LFC as are For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation, Halfknits, and Pine Ridge Elders. Visit Lakota Friends Circle to learn more about these groups and their individual projects.   Lakota Friends Circle helps provide funding for  projects with many of those funds coming from members of the partner groups and other supporters wanting to improve the lives of Native Americans.   ogether we help provide basic needs and support Rez programs that move people forward.

Wanblee

Jerome High Horse, program manager in Wanblee, has been delivering food, toiletries and sanitizing supplies to local residents and those in the surrounding communities over the past few months.  Most of the food was provided by Running Strong but this week Jerome made a trip to  We Don’t Waste in Denver to pick up a truck load of food.  These trips are made possible by your generous donations to LFC which pays for fuel costs to pick up and deliver the food to residents. Your donations have also helped purchase perishables such as milk, cheese and eggs that aren’t available from other sources. Food has been a bigger issue than usual on the Rez due to the shelter in place and travel restrictions imposed to help limit the spread of COVID. Even in normal times there is only one full sized grocery store on the reservation located in the town of Pine Ridge which is too far to travel for many residents living in other parts of the Rez.  If you lived in Interior to the north or Wanblee to the east of Pine Ridge you would be driving 83 miles to the grocery, 166 miles round trip.  Smaller community stores have limited food choices and also higher prices so many people shop in Rapid City or Nebraska.  Food stamps and commodities are still coming in but are not enough for the entire month and the federal government has cut benefits for both. Although the shelter in place restriction has been lifted, people are still being advised to limit their travels off the Rez to medical and basic needs and borders are still being monitored to keep non-residents out.

Jerome and his wife Theresa drove over 1,000 miles delivering air conditioners and bottled water to elders who are the most at risk group for hyperthermia.  Sew For Kids and partner groups continue to send seasonal clothing, shoes, socks, underwear, school supplies, toys, blankets, linens, toiletries and make monetary donations to our SFK fund that allows us to make monthly purchases of diapers, formula, incontinent supplies, etc in bulk for those in need. We have very generous members!

Lakota Friends Circle applied for and received a $5,000 grant from the Pollination Project for a food pantry in Wanblee. Currently all food that is picked up must be delivered immediately to residents because there are no storage facilities.  Food is always welcome but some residents don’t need the same level of assistance as others so some food could be stored in the pantry for emergency needs and also used to feed those attending community events.  Running Strong, impressed with Jerome’s dedication to helping his people, gave him a new 12 by 16 shed/building kit to start a food pantry for the community.  Although the building is small it is a start and can be added to in the future as funds become available. LFC is using the grant money, along with funds from many individual donors, to pour a cement base, insulate and winterize the exterior, and run electrical service.   Freezers, shelving and sorting tables will be needed.  We’re hoping to see the garden area fenced, soil plowed and amended this year so the garden will be ready to plant in the spring, chicken coops may also be added next year.

Projects have been delayed this year due to the pandemic and sheltering in place order. Many of the volunteer workers that come in from other states to help with summer projects couldn’t come as non-residents were banned from entering the Rez. Some of Jerome’s local workers left the Rez to work summer jobs at the parks or the border check point stations so he just didn’t have the staff needed to get projects finished.  Over the years Jerome has worked many jobs that caused a lot of wear and tear to his joints so now he must rely on the younger people to help him (which we like to see). Summer jobs end after Labor Day so workers will soon be returning to Wanblee ready to help with the pantry project and begin wood cutting for this winter.

Wanblee schools are not currently open so students are picking up  work packets from their teachers to begin the school year at home.  Many of our members have sent school supplies, clothing, and shoes as kids still need them even though they’re not attending physical classes. Many of these donations were delivered in person as three of our SFK members, Sherry, Pam, and Vicki, and their husbands, drove out to SD to meet Jerome off the Rez with truck loads of goods they collected from friends and family. Thank you ladies and your husbands for making the long trip to deliver your wonderful gifts to our Native American friends!

Several families in Wanblee were quarantined as one or more family members tested positive for the virus.  Jerome delivered food and supplies to their front door including masks several of our members donated. Thanks to everyone that took the time to make or order masks, you helped curb the spread of the virus on the Rez, Jerome and Theresa said it was a blessing to be able to give them out.

Martin Area

Students are back in school two days a week spending the other days at home with work packets from their teachers.  The CDC is trying to buy tablets for those students that have internet access so they can receive information from school.  As of this writing there have been positive cases of COVID at school and officials are waiting for a tribal response as to whether in person classes will continue.  Many thanks to donors that sent school supplies and clothing, they were greatly appreciated and given out to students in need.

The Sacred Shawl Society’s women’s shelter did remain open during the shelter in place orders with strict protocols in place.  Unfortunately one client who initially tested negative but later positive on another test did get in the shelter putting those who had contact with her in a two week quarantine.  The Sacred Shawl Director felt it was important during these stressful times to keep the shelter open as domestic abuse would surely be on the rise and she wanted to provide a safe place for those clients to go. There has been no further positive cases at the shelter.  There are currently some changes taking place at the CDC so they’ve asked us to please hold sending packages at this time.  We’ll let you know when to resume mailing. The youth center remains closed due to the virus.

Several local families in Martin were quarantined and Kimmie, Director of the CDC, received a $5000 grant to purchase food for those who could not leave their homes. Food was delivered by the CDC staff as Kimmie was one of the people quarantined.

Marty Indian School

Marty Indian school teachers will be back after Labor Day, students will begin the first half of the semester distance learning from home  with hopes of resuming in person learning for the second half if there are no outbreaks of the virus. We have been sending school supplies to the school as well as clothing and other things for the Feather Store.  You can read more about the store here. Room parents from SFK are in place for all elementary grades and are ready to help teachers with classroom needs. Thanks to Linda K for sending lots of school supplies and a generous monetary donation to use for snacks for the kids ensuring no one goes hungry.  We’re assuming students will also get food when they pick up their packets because they’re missing out on the two meals, breakfast and lunch, they would receive if they were in school.  We’re also busy sending books for the new library in the elementary school which we’re hoping will improve reading scores. The school can use adult and kid size masks and anything on the list below.

Baby Programs

Our baby programs have been quiet for most of the summer as  nurses were not allowed to make their home visits although we did send items if they were requested. The Sacred Shawl Society helps babies and toddlers with formula and diapers and other items that we send in and has continued to function in spite of the virus with goods left outside the CDC door for clients to pick up. Some of the monetary donations to LFC are used to buy diapers, diapering supplies and formula for the programs.  Bright Start nurse, Mary Mousseau, has returned to work and is so grateful for all the wonderful baby gifts you’ve sent to her. The Rosebud Maternal and Child Health program on Rosebud Reservation is only open for 3  hours a day and they’re mainly answering questions about health or baby care by phone and dropping off any supplies at their clients front doors. They are requesting no deliveries until further notice.

Rosebud Elementary School 

Members from our partner group “For The Children of Pine Ridge Reservation” provided school supplies for all 300 elementary students at Rosebud School on the Rosebud Reservation. Wow, great job ladies!! This wonderful group also helps Ruby, a local Pine Ridge resident and champion for the homeless, by sending food, toiletries, clothing and generous gift certificates to purchase food for the dinners she cooks for the homeless of Pine Ridge. Please check their site or the LFC site to learn more about the great work they do.

 

September/October Projects

Time to start preparing for the upcoming winter season on the Rez and of course Christmas.  Kids need warm clothing as soon as we can get it there, last year they had an early snow storm in October and they weren’t prepared. One of the schools didn’t have heat for a few months and the heating assistance program doesn’t start until October so people bundled up with what they had and tried to stay warm. Winter needs are listed below, mailing addresses are here. Please at this time only send to Wanblee, Marty Indian School and Bright Start in Pine Ridge.  We will update when Sacred Shawl/CDC in Martin is ready to accept donations.

“Winter/Christmas Begins”

  1. Clothing – Sew or purchase winter clothing, pants, sweatshirts, PJ’s, long underwear, heavy socks in sizes infant through adult.
  2. Outerwear – Winter coats, hoodies, snow pants, snowsuits, mittens/gloves, hats, scarves, infant through adult.
  3. Boots and Shoes – Snow, fashion and work boots, waterproof or heavier shoes above the ankle if possible, toddler through adult.
  4. Blankets – Including quilts, fleece, afghans, and receiving blankets for baby.  All sizes needed up to queen.
  5. Christmas Gifts – Some ideas for gifts in this blog.

 

Shipping rates have continued to climb through the years and many of our donors would like to send more but are limited by the cost to ship a box. We’re happy to tell everyone we’re now registered with the non-profit Give Back Box which offers a discount rate through UPS.  Some of the board members of LFC have tried the program and their packages were delivered as usual. We’re in the beginning stages but will put out a blog explaining how to use the program and which organizations you can ship to for the reduced rate, the savings are substantial.  Stay tuned!

We wish you peace and safety for you and your families.  Thanks as always from Sew For Kids.