Update on Wanblee

Jerome High Horse, Lakota Friends Circle (LFC) program manager, has spent much of this summer making trips to Colorado to pick up donated food from the non-profit “We Don’t Waste” and bringing it back to Wanblee for distribution to families in need.  Volunteers from the community sort and pack the food into boxes (100 plus usually) for pickup by families and elders in town and the surrounding areas which is estimated to include about 200 children.  Those lacking transportation will have their food delivered by Jerome or one of his volunteers.  We’re happy to report one of the recipients of a food box is the Emergency Foster Care Home in Porcupine.  Other food donations for the area come from Running Strong at Thanksgiving and Christmas and occasionally on the monthly NAHA trucks.

Although the food is donated free of charge, LFC provides funding for fuel and some of the maintenance for Jerome’s trucks which are used for pick up and delivery.  Most of these funds comes from the generous donations of SFK members, partner group “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation” and other donors supporting LFC.  Without your help Jerome would have to turn down most of the offers of donated food because the cost of running large trucks is just too expensive for the community.  LFC just held a successful fundraiser to repair the transmission on one of his trucks and purchase new tires for the trailer he uses to haul food.  Jerome’s trucks really take a beating with all the miles he drives and the many vehicles he pulls out of snow drifts every winter or flood waters which happened this past spring.  Soon he’ll be replacing the engine in one of his trucks as it’s gone nearly 200,000 miles and is no longer dependable and there’s always insurance to pay for so we try to help him out whenever possible.  We can’t thank you enough for your generous contributions that keep the trucks rolling and the food coming in for so many children and their families on the Rez.  School is starting soon so families will have some relief in their food budget when their children begin eating two meals a day at school.

We mentioned in a blog last fall the tribe offered Jerome five trailers that were originally used to house oil workers in North Dakota but they had to be moved from the town of Pine Ridge at his expense. LFC has been trying to find funding to move them but the original cost of $4500 per trailer was one they couldn’t afford and while looking for an alternative mover the tribe gave two of them to families that lost their homes in the floods so now there are only three available.  Although we didn’t do a formal fundraiser some generous people read about the trailers last year and wanted to help so LFC now has funds to move a trailer. It’s $2000 to move and $500 to put on the deck with stairs or a ramp.  A big thanks to Sandy and Bill Volk,  Frances Bourdon, Janet Schnurlein and Ruth Gruel for their donations to move the first trailer,  LFC will need our help in raising funds to move the second and third trailer and to add decking, stairs or ramp and skirting for all the trailers. Jerome has experienced volunteers ready to get the trailers functional and weatherized once in place all they need is the materials to begin working.  The land has been provided and is ready, families are required to apply to the tribe for water and electrical service but the trailers have to be in place first.  These trailers are in great condition, fully furnished and insulated and are not the typical trailer most families buy due to their limited resources so we really hope we don’t lose the third trailer.  All children deserve to have a nice, safe home to grow up in and although we can’t help everyone we do have a chance to help three families.  LFC, with your help, has rehabbed homes in the past for veterans and elders and a family who lost their home in a fire.

Below is the story the of the  first family to receive the trailer we’ve raised funds for.  Jerome chose this family because they’re always willing to volunteer to help their community in times of need, now they need to ask for help. Jerome has a family in mind for the  second and third trailer but they won’t be notified until we have raised the funds because we don’t want to make a promise we can’t keep.

Family #1

To: Lakota Friends Circle Re: Trailer house – We are a family of 8, we currently have our own trailer house. It is desperately in need of a lot of repairs. This past harsh winter conditions, really did a lot of damage, from the heavy snow, high winds and flooding. The electricity in half of the kitchen, half of the living room, main bathroom, and 2 bedrooms doesn’t have electricity. The roof has started to leak from our living room to the main bathroom. The house became unleveled, from our living room, to the whole half of our house, sits a little sideways. The floor began to rot away by our main entrance door, causing the floor to fall apart. We’ve worked very hard to purchase our home and to maintain it. We’ve done the repairs ourselves. But due to a recent health condition, I lost my job, I’m not able to find employment right now, because I’m still in recovery from treatments for my health. My wife is the only one employed right now. We’ve never had a house from OST housing authority, we’ve always rented, and saved and saved and finally 7 years ago, we bought and paid for our current home in full. Renovating and upgrading it ourselves. But physically and financially we cannot continue to repair our home anymore. We did apply for assistance through FEMA, after all the paperwork, and inspection of our home, we were “not qualified” and denied help. There’s too much work that needs to be done, and it’s very hard for us to have to admit, that we are not capable of doing it anymore. We desperately need a new home and we would be so grateful!! Thank you!

Family #2 This is the next person who needs a trailer. We will post the third family in need once we have funds. We are looking for grants as well.

26616735135273 (2)

 

Many thanks again to Bill, Sandy, Frances, Janet and Ruth for making it possible for this first family  to have a decent home.   If you would like to make a donation for moving the other  trailers please use this link and type “moving the trailers” in the comments box.  Any donation is welcome, many small donations add up very quickly and could give another family a decent place to call home.  We’ll share the third family’s story with you if we can raise the funding. We need to move them or the tribe will be give to families in other areas. LFC wants to help the needy families in the Wanblee area.

Although this is a Lakota Friends Circle project we like to keep our members updated about their news and fundraisers as they’re also frequent donors to their programs.  Sew For Kids is mainly a sewing/crafting group but we partner with LFC on many projects and are under the umbrella of their organization.  Our “Sew For Kids Fund” is at LFC and the monies are used to purchase food, diapers, formula, toiletries and other critical needs for the areas we serve.  Together with LFC, “For the Children of PRR” and other partner groups we’ve provided over $30,000 in goods to these areas, an accomplishment everyone should be proud of.

Thank you from Sew For Kids for your generosity and continued support.

Here are the photos of the trailers.

 

 

September/October Projects

Where did summer go? It took forever to arrive on the Rez and many other parts of the country and now kids are already back in school and we’re preparing for another winter and Christmas season.  Our project for the past two months has been getting kids ready for school by sending supplies and clothing but now we need to shift our focus to warm clothing, coats, boots, blankets, etc. for the long winter ahead.  You can still include school supplies whenever sending a box as they are needed for the entire school year.

With all the poorly insulated homes and the lack of funds to purchase propane (the main heat source on the Rez) it’s crucial that families have the proper clothing and blankets to keep warm.  Babies, toddlers, diabetics and the elderly are especially vulnerable during the winter and need our help to stay healthy.  All areas we serve need supplies for winter, Wanblee community, Martin women’s shelter, youth center, CDC, nursing home and Head Starts, Marty Indian school in Marty, SD and the baby programs at Bright Start in Pine Ridge and RST Maternal and Child Health on the Rosebud Reservation in SD.

The list is large but by joining with our partner organizations we feel confident about helping many children, elders and families keep warm this winter.  Blankets and winter coats are always a priority and we never seem to have enough to go around so please put them at the top of your list.  We continually receive requests for blankets throughout the winter so if you like to quilt or make afghans our advice is to make all you can. We welcome anything “Warm” that is purchased, sewn, crocheted or knitted as long as it meets the guidelines listed here.

“Winter Warmth/Christmas Begins”

  • Outer Wear – Winter coats, buntings/snowsuits for babies, hoodies, fleece pullovers, sweaters, snow pants, ponchos, shawls for elders.  Gloves/mittens, scarves, cowls, hats for sizes infant through adult.  Lots of knitting and crocheting!
  • Clothing – Warm pants and shirts, sweat/fleece pants and tops and/or warm PJ’s, long underwear and heavy socks, infant through adult.
  • Boots – Snow, fashion and work boots, waterproof or heavier shoes above the ankle ideal.  Toddler through adult.
  •  Warm blankets – Quilts, blankets, afghans for babies through adults.  Crib, toddler, twin, double and queen sizes (king sizes are rare). 
  • Christmas Gifts – Start working on gifts.

Any of the above needs also make wonderful Christmas gifts, teens are happy with a hat, gloves or a scarf and the younger ones too with maybe an added toy.  The November blog will have more information about how to package your Christmas gifts and shipping dates.  The annual “Doll Project” is already in full swing  thanks to SFK member Penny N, project founder and coordinator, and all the other talented members that are busy sewing doll clothes and carriers.  If you would like to join us please visit our Facebook working group Sew For Kids Volunteers.

You can find shipping addresses here and if you have a little extra room in your box, consider adding hot chocolate, tea, coffee and soup mixes, they would be greatly appreciated and could help keep a body warm on a cold winter night.

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids.

Marty Indian School

Summer vacation will soon be over for students attending Marty Indian School when classes begin the day after Labor Day. A new teacher has recently been hired to teach first grade and they are currently looking for a fifth grade teacher. The majority of kids attended the Boys and Girls club until the end of June so will be eager to get back to school and be with friends again. Testing and reviewing are always on the agenda for the first few weeks of the new year to identify any deficiencies students may have. They did improve their math scores last year because of the grant they received for extra tutoring and although that program has ended teachers will be working with students to make sure they keep and even improve their skills.  Reading scores are still not up to standards so teachers and staff will be working hard to improve those numbers this year.

Since they no longer need the extra room for math tutors the Feather Store room that held clothing, shoes, toiletries, etc. last year is being moved back to the elementary building.  They’re thinking of making one of the rooms into more of an adult room so parents can shop for clothing and toiletries during the day while their children are in school.  The other room would be stocked with toys, school supplies, books, crafts, stuffies, and snacks serving as more of a children’s store. Getting parents coming to the school is one of the main goals so hopefully they will feel more comfortable with the staff and start participating in their child’s education and attend school events.  They do expect parents to attend parent/teacher conferences but they never have the turnout they would like.

Five of our Sew For Kids room parents are returning this year for grades K-5, some of them for the second or third time.  Linda B is going to be the new room parent for grade 1.  Our goal is to have two room parents per grade but some classes still have a single volunteer. We really need more volunteers to help with this program so if this sounds like something you’d like to do please, contact Carol here.  Room parents help their teacher with special needs for a class project, school supplies, healthy snacks and a small gift for each student on their birthday and Christmas. Birthdays are celebrated monthly for all students born that month so cards and gifts can be sent ahead saving money on shipping. Some room parents send all the gifts and cards for the first half of the year and send another box for the last half. Classes have parties for special days and holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter that room parents can help with if they choose. Class sizes are usually around 12 to 14 students, the maximum number the school can have is 95. Last year they had between 75-80 at any given time as students come and go depending on their family situation. Principal Jolene Arrow will send a monthly newsletter and a calendar for the year to the room parents so they will know what their classes are doing and when students are in school.

Room parents aren’t expected to help with all the needs of the classroom.  We have a large group of SFK members that support the Feather Store by sending clothing, shoes, winter gear, toiletries, school supplies, household items, towels, blankets, pillows and pillowcases, toys, Christmas gifts, etc.  This year someone was at the school all summer long to receive packages many members were sending early so kids could have what they needed to start the new year.  Also this summer SFK member, Linda H led a group of volunteers making special badges for the kids saying “Happy Birthday”, “Good Job” and other inspirational messages all made possible by funding from a grant they received.  Thank you Linda and all the volunteers that helped with this project, we can assure you the kids will be thrilled to wear your badges!!

Another SFK member, Ramonia Stephens, stopped in at the school on her way to another state and brought lots of donations for the Feather Store. Ramonia said she felt so welcome during her visit and says they encourage anyone wanting to visit to please do so.

 

Janet S and Penny N will be heading to the school for a fall visit to their classrooms and to drop off supplies for their classes and the Feather Store.  Penny always has plenty of news to report and sometimes takes a video to share with our Facebook group.

Students eat two meals a day at school, breakfast is between 7:30 and 8:00 am and lunch begins at 10:30 am  for the younger kids.  The school day is over at 3:30 pm so kids get pretty hungry in the afternoon unless the school can afford to give out healthy snacks.  Some kids won’t have supper at home or much on the weekend so a healthy snack in the afternoon may be all they eat until returning to school the next morning. Kids cannot concentrate on learning nor perform well on a test if their stomachs are empty.  The school reviews their food budget each year to see how often they’re able to give out snacks, last year they provided snacks 3 days a week for the first term and only 2 days for the last term.  We know how important nutrition is for growing children so SFK started a “Snack Fund” at Lakota Friends Circle and sends the funds directly to the school so they can purchase healthy items locally such as fresh fruit, veggies, yogurt, cheese, nut butters, etc. You can help ensure kids have the nutrition they need by making a small donation to the fund, with many of us working together we can make a difference.

Paulita Drapeau will once again be holding her popular sewing classes for the older kids where they learn to make traditional ribbon skirts including the boys who make them for their mothers or “aunties”. She’ll also be teaching kids about Dakota culture and have craft activities to correspond with their lessons. We will post a list of needs for the sewing and culture project as we learn of them. Paulita is still in charge of stocking the Feather Store and will probably be helping Marty sports teams as well. The school would love to have book donations of all kinds but especially those about Lakota/Dakota or Native Americans (bi-lingual are great) so please keep an eye out for those. They want to encourage students to start a home library so reading becomes a habit providing them with a skill that will serve them throughout their lives.

Principal Jolene Arrow is trying to find a way to work with kids in the community who can’t get one of the 18 spots available in the local Head Start program.  Kids that don’t have access to early education are at a disadvantage when entering kindergarten.  SFK is trying to find ways to get parents to come to the school and learn how to work with their kids at home and also provide them with the books and supplies they need.  Teachers we need your help!  If you have experience in early education or ideas of how we can help Jolene with her program please contact us!

Thanks to all the returning room parents and to everyone that has helped the school over the past three years.  Your caring and generosity is now legendary and we look forward to beginning our fourth year serving Marty Indian School with you.  Thanks to Penny N for being our Ambassador to Marty and providing us with detailed reports of her visits and pictures and videos that make us all feel we’ve been there too!

Please send all donations for Marty Indian School here. and enclose a SASE and the completed tax form (link on the address page) if you need a tax receipt.  If you wish to make a donation for healthy snacks please use this link and type “Marty snack fund” in the comments box.  All donations to the school are tax deductible. Even if you do not want a charitable form but want to make sure that your box got there, send a list of items and a SASE so they can return it to you. Thanks.

Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank one of Lakota Friends Circle’s partner groups, “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation”  for raising $450 for school supplies for 300 students at the Rosebud elementary school on Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.  Fantastic job ladies!  Some ladies are sending their own supplies which works as well. They’re currently working on warm winter items and a washcloth and soap and blankets for every student in the school!

If you want to sew along with us join us on our Facebook Sew For Kids Volunteer page We would love to have you help! And you will meet the nicest people, I can guarantee.

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids

 

Martin Community News

 Sacred Shawl Domestic Abuse Shelter

When speaking to Kimmie a few weeks ago she said it hadn’t been a great summer so far.  After dealing with the flooding this spring they’ve had a tornado and quite a few severe thunderstorms to deal with which left roads to the shelter muddy and full of ruts. Fortunately they received a Walmart Community Grant and were able to put gravel down which prevented vehicles from getting stuck and also helped keep the shelter floors a little cleaner. They’ve been shampooing the carpet every 2 days with all the mud being tracked in and will replace with tile but that will have to wait a little longer as they had to replace the air conditioning which was a big expense. Kimmie and employees at the shelter are saving a small amount of their salaries each month to save for tiles which they intend to install themselves. Now those are dedicated employees!

Wild Horse Butte CDC

The CDC was in need of formula for women who come toward the end of every month looking for help and generous members of SFK came through with donations that made sure no babies went hungry.  Formula is always a constant need for babies that aren’t being breastfed and we’re always looking for more donors so we can keep the shelves stocked ensuring there’s formula available when needed. We send monthly shipments of diapers in 3 of the larger size diapers for the shelter and 2 packages of laundry pods, one for the shelter and one for the youth center. Kimmie has women start potty training as early as possible at the shelter so they can save money on diapers. She does share diapers with women in the community if there are any left over which she did last month because the shelter wasn’t full.  They have been giving out cloth diapers to women in the community and they’ve been well received.  Kimmie holds parenting classes for anyone who wants to attend with some attending due to a court order.

Sadly Kimmie said 4 teens have taken their own lives so far this summer on the Rez and one was a participant in the Isnati (coming of age) Ceremony for girls.  Some of the victims had been sexually abused so Kimmie filed for and received a state grant for sexual assault training. She was able to hire a teen advocate who will go to middle and high schools around the Rez and talk to students about suicide prevention and teen violence. Students will be given a hotline number where they can speak to someone 24/7 and receive the help they need.  Kimmie takes the loss of any child personally and feels that she hasn’t done enough. We respectfully disagree, Kimmie has advocated for, mentored and served as an exemplary role model to so many young people in her community and across Pine Ridge and we’re honored to work with her.

My Space Youth Center

The youth center was recently struck by a drunk driver so Kimmie has to find funds to get the building repaired. She’s hoping the tribe will help with some of the expenses as most people don’t have car insurance. The center is really too small for the number of kids they serve but they’re grateful for the space they do have as it provides a safe place for kids to meet with their friends and have fun, get something to eat and sadly for those coming from dysfunctional homes, serving as a home away from home.

Kimmie was able to take the kids on some cultural trips but not as many as she would’ve liked and they did some cultural events at the youth center as well. The kids have been reading this summer and learned to cook thanks to the cooking kits that volunteers from a partner group For the Children of PRR sends to them and the shelter, thanks ladies!  Kimmie bought pool passes for the kids that love to swim and went over budget because she couldn’t say no to any child wanting to swim. She knows it’s great exercise and keeps kids occupied for most of the day. If there is a down side to swimming it’s kids coming back to the youth center ravenous after a day of physical activity which means they need more food to feed the hungry crew. They finally got the garden in, later than usual due to the heavy rains, but hopefully they’ll get enough fresh veggies to help feed all those hungry kids.

Kimmie and her crew are assembling bags for kids going back to school and need our help with backpacks, pencil cases, school supplies, underwear, and clothing sizes 4/5T to 16/18 and S adult.  Kimmie will add some new socks to the bags thanks to your donations and the grant that Barb R. applied for and received from the sock company Bombas who sent a very large number of new socks to Kimmie.  Hopefully this will be a continual grant. The filled bags will be given to children with the most need first.

Kimmie would like to give each Head Start student a blanket for napping at school and a stuffed animal.  The three Head Start’s in the area would also love to have book donations so they have a variety of stories to read to the children each day. Some of the books will be given to kids to take home in hopes it will encourage parents to start reading to their children.

Kimmie is attending a conference in Eureka, California sponsored by 7 Generations, a Native American group, and when she returns will be having knee surgery in September. She fell off a porch a while ago injuring her knees so will need two separate surgeries to repair the damage to already arthritic knees.  She’s worried about being away so much but knows after surgery she can still come in to the shelter, youth center and CDC office and direct although most physical activity will have to wait until therapy is finished. She will be doing her physical therapy at the clinic in Martin, which she was instrumental in getting built for the 800 plus Native Americans living in the area. We wish her well and hope she has a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

Well that wraps up the news for Martin, more blogs to follow about other areas we serve.  Thank you all for helping get the kids ready ready for school in Martin and for all the donations you make all year long.  Thank you to the generous people that make a monthly donation through Lakota Friends Circle that makes it possible for us to help feed kids at the youth center and shelter and help babies with formula and diapers. Please send all donations for the shelter, youth center, CDC office and Head Start here.  If you would like to make a recurring monthly or one time tax deductible donation to our Sew For Kids fund which helps us purchase food, diapers, formula and other critical needs, please use this link and state how you wish your donation to be used in the comments box.

Kimmie sends hugs to all of you as you make her job easier because of your generous donations.

Thanks from Sew For Kids

Back To School Time

Although it seems like kids just got out of school for their summer break, it’s already the middle of July and students in Martin will begin their new school year in mid August and Marty will begin after Labor Day.  Big box stores have their displays in place and are advertising super low prices on paper, pencils, crayons, etc. that won’t be repeated again until this time next year.  Stock up now on colored pencils, glue sticks, paper, crayons and markers and add a sketch book or coloring book for giving later as a great Christmas gift.

With over 90 percent of the population living below the poverty line on the Rez most families simply don’t have the resources to buy school supplies and clothing for their children.  TANF and food stamp benefits don’t come until the beginning of the month so that means unless children get supplies from an outside source they won’t have them when classes begin.  Parents don’t want to send their children to school wearing worn out or ill fitting clothing from last year and it’s not good for a child’s self esteem either.  Summer months don’t allow families to save money as many kids are eating 2 extra meals at home unless they were able to participate in one of the summer feeding programs at school.

Jolene Arrow, Principal at Marty Indian School, says they’ve been accepting packages all summer so they can be ready to help students with clothing and school supplies if needed.  Teachers are given a budget for basic school supplies to start the year but many times when supplies run out there are no funds to replace them.  We can help keep students learning by donating school supplies to the school for use later in the year when the cupboards are bare.  As we all know after August the good sales are over and we’re back to paying full price so now is the time to buy regardless of when you choose to ship.  Those of you sponsoring a class this year can contact your teacher for the best time to ship supplies.

Kimmie and her staff are going through the storage containers to see what size clothing is needed and we’ll post the list as soon as we receive it.  She received a big supply of new socks from the Bombas company and we would like to extend our gratitude to Barb R. for taking the time to apply to Bombas donation program and winning all those socks for Kimmie to give out to those in need in the Martin area which includes the shelter, CDC office, youth center and students at the local schools.  Kimmie says the first thing they need is backpacks so they can put together school supplies for the students that are in need.  New or gently used backpacks both welcomed as are the sewn drawstring type for the younger kids.  They also need pencil cases which is a quick sewing project and one that uses scraps from your stash.

Crazy Horse school in Wanblee will get some help from Lakota Kidz , Families Working Together located in Wanblee and from Running Strong. Jerome High Horse picks up school supplies from Running Strong which they distribute to kids during a community BBQ to celebrate the end of summer and the start of school.  The High Horses will accept donations of school supplies, school bags and pencil cases.

“Gather Our Children Home” foster care has received a lot of donations lately from many generous people so we’ll wait for a needs list from them before sending more.

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/M
  2. Underwear – and sports bras 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. Sizes 12 kids through adult 8/9.
  4. Toiletries – Soap, shampoo and sanitary napkins/tampons.
  5. School Supplies – paper, pens/pencils, markers, crayons, glue sticks, pencil cases, notebooks, paper,etc
  6.  Backpacks – New, home sewn or gently used all accepted.
  7. Detergent, Etc – laundry detergent, bath towels and washcloths for Marty Indian School and Martin Youth Center.

Marty School and the Martin Youth Center both have laundry facilities and will wash student’s clothing if needed.  Kids using the Youth Center are allowed to do one load of their clothing every week.  Sanitary supplies for girls at Marty  in grades 4 and 5 are especially needed so girls will come to school and learn instead of staying home due to lack of supplies as well as at My Space Youth center in Martin where Kimmie keeps supplies so that girls can take some home with them if they need them.  A small bag/purse with some sanitary items would be great for the schools to give out to girls, all the kids like getting toiletries such as soap and shampoo, etc.

Let’s get the kids properly outfitted and excited to begin their new school year by providing them with some new clothing, underwear, shoes and filled backpacks.  Addresses for Kimmie in Martin, Marty Indian School and Jerome High Horse are here.

The next blog will have news and updates from the areas we serve.  Thanks as always to all the members of SFK, For the Children of PRR and many others for helping the kids.

If you prefer to give a monetary donation for the school needs, like snacks for during or after school, or other items, you can donate at Lakotafriendscircle.org/donate/  Tell us how you want your donation used. Thank you

 

 

 

 

 

Emergency Foster Care Needs Our Help.

Recently Barb and the board at Gather Our Children Home decided  to move the foster home to Porcupine after the school there offered them a home of the same size rent free.  Funding anything on the Rez is one of the biggest obstacles organizations face when trying to help their communities and having a building rent free means they have more funds for other needed improvements.  Currently Barb and her Board  are working on meeting all the state requirements, training staff, and getting the building up to code before Child Protection Services makes an inspection in the near future.  Please read our May 8 blog for more details.

Although Barb is thrilled with the new home, she has donated 5 acres of her own land to fulfill her dream of building a larger, permanent foster home that can serve more children and also have an area to teach parenting classes and have family counseling available.  Barb now has a lawyer volunteering to help her with a capital campaign and others are helping with grant writing.  If they are awarded grants the monies may not appear for many months due to all the red tape, especially if they’re from the federal government.  We’ve seen this scenario before, when Sacred Shawl’s women’s shelter first opened they had the federal grant funding but the payments were usually late and they were always operating on a razor thin margin just trying to keep the employees paid and the doors open.  Fortunately they’re on much firmer ground today with salaries, rent, utilities, and food needs being met but they still need our help to provide clothing, toiletries, perishable food, books, warm clothing, blankets, etc. for their clients as there are no funds left for these needs.

The foster home got  help from Friends of Lakota Nation this summer when they built a fence around the home so the children are secure and safe when they go out to play.  Another group is building playground equipment and picnic tables and Running Strong will help get a garden designed so they can begin growing some of their own food.  Other volunteers are planning to build computer desks and shelving in the basement so they can start a library with all the books our groups have been sending. Thanks to members of SFK and For the Children of PRR for sending clothing, socks, shoes, coats, summer toys, school supplies, craft items, diapers, sanitary items, and toiletries.  Other thanks to Patti R for sending a safety gate (they love it!) to Linda B for sending shelving and Carol B and Janet S for the storage containers to hold all the clothing and shoes.  Thanks to Debra M and Brenda B for making curtains and sending rods for the new home.  Many sent sheets, towels, office supplies, cloth bags and so many other wonderful things.  Thank you everyone for being so generous!!

Although the foster home is getting so much more help now than just a few months ago they still need our help.  Temperatures are already in the high eighties and in order to have air conditioning they will have to move the central air conditioning unit from the old home in Oglala to Porcupine.  They also need to install the security system, we saved $250 from the freezer fundraiser we did a few months ago which will help but won’t cover the entire cost.  We would also like to help them replace their worn out sofa and chairs for the living room and purchase a dresser for each of the three bedrooms.

We have set a fundraising goal of $1500 to help cover some of these needs.  No donation is too small and if we all chip in a little we’ll reach our goal in no time.  Joyce W has started us off by donating $100, thank you Joyce for your generosity!  Please help the foster home provide a safe and comfortable place for abused and neglected children that have nowhere else to go.  Barb and her staff provide these kids with a safe, loving and nurturing environment while in their care.

Donations can be made to Lakota Friends Circle here or if you prefer to send a check using the address listed on that site.   Thank you for helping the kids!

 

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids.

 

June Projects

Summer will officially start next week but SFK members have been busy for the past two months sewing or buying dresses, shorts, tops, skirts, swim suits, sun hats and bags to get kids ready for their summer vacation.  If you’re still in the middle of a sewing project don’t worry, kids will continue to need summer clothing when school begins the 3rd week of August or later and until cooler weather takes over sometime in mid October.  Shoes are always a need too, all sizes for all seasons as kids outgrow them so quickly.  For those wishing to work ahead on other projects don’t forget to check our 2019 Monthly Project post.

With garage sales in full swing and thrift stores running clearance sales most of the things on our June project list can be found pretty reasonable.  Shop your own closets or ask family members if they have something to donate, keeping in mind our  donation guidelines.   If you’re traveling this summer don’t forget to save the hotel toiletries for Kimmie to add to the comfort bags she makes for women undergoing exams after sexual abuse.

June  “Bags, Sheets, Towels and a Contest”

  1. School bags/backpacks – Sew/purchase drawstring or other style backpack and pencil cases for school.  Please Send to Emergency Foster Home, Kimmie at the CDC in Martin and Marty Indian School.  We’ll begin purchasing school supplies next month when sales begin and send them later in the year when really needed as most schools do have supplies to start the new year.  We also like to send extra school supplies so teachers can give students supplies to use at home.
  2. Activity Bags – Make or purchase a tote bag, add a book, stuffed animal, coloring book and crayons, journal and pen, drawing pad and colored pencils, etc.  Please send to Kimmie at the CDC office in Martin for children at the shelter and youth center and to the Emergency Foster Home.
  3. Cloth/Tote Bags all sizes – The women’s shelter has an ongoing need for cloth bags, pillowcase size, for clients to use when leaving the shelter, comfort bags for women in crisis and those using the services at the CDC office in Martin.  Diaper bags are needed for all areas except Marty School and Wanblee.  Small drawstring bags are always needed for toiletries and personal care items for clients at the shelter or CDC office.  Regular tote size bags can be used for groceries, swim bags for the pool, books, personal items, etc.
  4. Sheets and Towels – Sheets are always needed at the shelter and foster home, new or gently used in sizes twin, full and queen.  The Rosebud baby program needs sheets for cribs, standard size, and pack ‘n play’s 37.5″L x 25.5″W.  The shelter and Foster Home can always use towels and washcloths and never seem to have enough.  Many clients will take towels with them when leaving the shelter so they constantly need replacing.  Towels can be new or gently used.
  5. Sewing Contest – Make a Christmas gift for a child using scraps from your stash.  Members from Sew For Kids will vote on their favorite project, with a special prize for the winner (to be announced).

We encourage members to start thinking about making Christmas gifts during the summer especially if they’re labor intensive such as quilts or dolls. Having a few gifts finished before fall arrives relieves some of the pressure we all feel trying to fit too many projects into a short amount of time.  This year we’re encouraging you to use scrap fabric, trims, yarn, etc. that are already in your stash to make a gift, scrap projects are certainly economical but they also force us to use our creative talents and the results are usually stunning.  Some ideas – hats, mittens, baby/child sweaters, quilts, stuffed animals, themed bags such as art, tool set, make-up, sewing, first aid kit, etc, games, or anything else your creative minds come up with.  Have fun with the contest and we’ll share all your creative ideas, pictures of your projects, and the winner of course, in an upcoming blog.

Thanks from Sew For Kids, we wish you a safe and happy summer filled with fun, family and friends!