Shipping rates are rising again for 2017 and since we’re always trying to keep costs as low as possible for you, we thought a monthly donation program would be the best value for those on tight budgets, occasional donors or anyone wanting to help our areas with food and other monthly needs. Small monthly donations of $5 or more can really add up and together we can help provide funds so our program directors can purchase food at their local food pantries and grocery stores or we can buy goods in bulk online and save shipping costs. Donate when you have a little extra to share, there is no minimum or requirement to fill, this is just another way to help. All donations are tax deductible and can be made to Lakota Friends Circle via Paypal or mail. Please note that your donation is for the Sew For Kids fund. We will still continue with our monthly projects and of course you may send any of the needs listed below if you prefer not to contribute to the fund or if you decide to do both. Sew For Kids is under the umbrella of Lakota Friend’s Circle so we did not have to set up our own 501c ( 3) another cost that would take away from the items needed on the Rez for the kids.
Some of the things the fund could provide for:
- Pantry Needs – milk, eggs, bread, cheese, crackers, peanut butter…… canned goods including soup, pasta meals, fruits and vegetables…..canned meats such as chicken, tuna, ham, spam, etc.
- Baby Formula – Enfamil, Similac, etc. for infants and older. Most babies can drink dairy at 12 months.
- Diapers – Disposables in sizes 1-6.
- Toiletries – Shampoo, deodorant, sanitary pads and tampons, body wash, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, combs and brushes.
- School Supplies – Notebooks, colored pencils, crayons, markers, erasers, pens, pencils, whiteboard markers, paper plain and lined, scissors, glue.
- Craft Supplies – Construction paper, drawing paper, acrylic paints, art brushes, modeling clay, etc. Fabric for star quilts, leather and beading supplies for traditional crafts.
- Sports and Entertainment – Board and card games, puzzles, activity books, coloring books and sporting goods such as baseballs, baseball mitts, basketballs, soccer balls, Frisbees, outdoor games, etc. The youth center in Martin needs help building their library so donations of books on any subject for any age are welcome. Check media mail rates at the PO for a good rate.
- Special Requests – Such as a crib for a shelter room, stroller, coffee maker, toaster, etc.
Food insecurity is a reality for most children on the Rez. They rely on the two meals a day received at school which may be all they get to eat that day and if it happens to be a Friday and the cupboard is bare at home, they could go most of the weekend without food, that’s 60 hours or more of going hungry! Children are also at risk when school breaks for the holidays and especially the long summer vacation. If families are receiving food stamps they usually cover 3 weeks out of the month and even less if kids are not in school. Good nutrition is vital if children are to grow up healthy, both physically and mentally, so they can get off to a good start in life.
Food is also a big expense for organizations serving the public on the Rez. Kids coming to the Martin youth center after school are given a snack to make sure they get something to eat in case there’s no evening meal at home. The High Horses in Wanblee often receive calls from women with hungry children in their district desperate for food. The Marty School needs food to send home in backpacks for students at the highest risk of going hungry in the evening and on weekends. Having nutritious snacks available in classrooms is desirable as growing kids are always in need of extra calories, more so for kids with food insecurity. Donations to the fund could help build pantries at these sites and would bring us all the comfort of knowing children were not going hungry.
Diapers and formula are two requests usually coming toward the end of the month in Wanblee and Martin. Many new mothers are young and inexperienced and are already under stress, a crying baby that can’t be consoled due to being hungry or wearing a soiled diaper is at an increased risk of being abused or neglected. Having diapers and formula on hand to give out to mothers could prevent this from happening. A can of powdered formula on the Rez is $32 and can be purchased with food stamps or given through the WIC program, but regardless of the source it doesn’t last the entire month. This is the time babies are most likely to receive watered down formula or Kool-Aid in their bottles. The fund would allow us to purchase formula at a volume discount and get free shipping.
Some of our members are making cloth diapers for the shelter so they have something on hand if they run out of disposables and to give to clients requesting them when they leave the facility. If you would like to make diapers for the shelter they don’t need to be fancy, just a flat, foldable diaper that dries quickly, and please include diaper pins and a diaper cover or plastic pants. If you want to send disposables, Wanblee needs sizes 3-6 only as they receive smaller sizes from other sources and all sizes are needed at the shelter. The shelter operates on a very tight budget but will buy diapers for those that need them if they can, often the shelter staff will take out of their own pockets despite only making $10 an hour.
School supplies are needed at the shelter for kids starting a new school and at the youth center which has a tutoring program after school. The school at Marty needs them as well for the Feather Store so students can “purchase” their supplies. Toiletries are needed at all three areas and are always near the top of the list of needs. Toiletries allow people to clean up and smell good and gives them a sense of dignity. Lets face it, we all feel better about ourselves when we’re clean and look nice.
Games and other fun activities give kids constructive things to do with their time, keeps them off the street and from potentially getting into trouble. Exercise helps kids stay fit and healthy, is a good outlet for working off energy and anger and lowers their inherent risk of diabetes. Kids learn the concept of winning and losing when playing games encouraging them to work harder to improve their skills. Crafting allows children’s individuality to shine through while puzzles and games challenge their minds and get kids working together on problem solving while having fun. The youth center does have computers and printers so the students could use printer paper for their school projects. The Marty school needs general crafting supplies for certain classroom projects and to keep the kids occupied if recess is cancelled due to inclement weather.
We’re hopeful some of you like the new program and will help us build the Sew For Kids fund. As previously stated you can certainly continue sending as before but we feel building a fund saves you money and allows bulk purchasing and buying perishables at local stores. We don’t like to keep bugging our group about these needs constantly and having a fund we could responsibly draw on would allow us to fill the need when we get the call.
We’re so grateful for the generous help you’ve given the kids over the years. Whichever way you decide to help will make a difference in their lives and we thank you!