Make Christmas Special for a Child in Wanblee

I finally have time to blog again; the company has gone home, the house is back to some kind of order and I’m back at my sewing machine.  Mmmm it feels good to be back in the saddle!

I hope you all had time to view the program about Pine Ridge on the October 14th episode of 20/20 on ABC.  If not you can still see it here,  http://abcnews.go.com/2020   After watching the program you may understand why we’re so interested in helping the children there.  No child in the US (or world for that matter) should have to endure the harsh life that children do on the reservation.  All of us at SFK have known about the deplorable conditions on the Rez for years and now thanks to Diane Sawyer and 20/20 the rest of the country does too.

The earlier high risk children receive help the greater likelihood they have of growing up healthy.  As you saw in the documentary many kids are being raised by grandparents because their parents are dealing with alcohol and drug issues.  These grandparents need help if they are to raise healthy children and so do all the parents across the reservation that are trying to raise their children in third world conditions.  It’s our hope, with the help of those on the Rez identifying at risk children, that we can offer basic needs so kids have a better chance of a more normal childhood.  We also want to provide educational tools so kids start learning from birth and have a head start before attending school which improves their chances of staying in school, graduating and attending college or trade school if they choose.  And last we want to provide materials for fun activities for the kids so they can have a little joy in their lives and forget the stresses they deal with every day.  Our group is focused on helping kids aged 0-12 only because most teens wouldn’t be interested in the things we make, I know my kids certainly weren’t at that age.  We will certainly help the older ages if we have the resources as this age group has a suicide rate that is 3 times the national average so they desperately need help too.

I want to welcome all the people on Facebook who “like” our site. We are a small group working alongside others who share our desire to help the children of PR.  We help where we can and as we have materials available. Come join in our efforts and meet people across the country or even internationally. The present needs are for warm items so kids will be ready for the arrival of winter, snow has already fallen in the Black Hills. The High Horse and  Charging Crow families are collecting coats, hats, sweaters, mittens, scarves, gloves, boots, snowsuits, warm socks, warm clothing and blankets for all ages.  If you have any of these items in new or good used condition please consider sending them to the rez and help the kids stay warm this winter.  Kids are often seen walking to school or waiting for a bus wearing a sweater or light jacket with no boots, hats and gloves/mittens.  Our small group along with other crafters are currently churning out hats, scarves and mittens fast as possible but we can’t begin to provide the numbers they need.   If you knit, sew or crochet or just want to collect items from friends and neighbors we need your help!

The other project we’re currently working on is the Christmas gift project. The party is scheduled December 20th and will be held in the Kennedy Hall in Wanblee. This week we received a list of the number of kids expected to attend the party, over 500….. Yikes!!  200 boys and 250 girls from ages 0-12 and 60 teenagers (30 females, 30 males) from ages 13-17. That’s a lot of kids to provide for! It’s doubtful that SFK and the groups we work with can provide for everyone which is why we desperately need your help if this project is to be successful.  I sponsor two families, one on the Rez and one in Mississippi and will never forget one of the MS kids saying he hated holidays as his family never had the money to buy gifts or food for the occasion and he wished those days would just disappear because they made him so sad.  We want kids to have the same fun all of us will have this Christmas season so please help us make it happen for them.

Christmas gifts don’t have to be expensive, simple things can provide hours of enjoyment and learning with family members and friends.  Sports equipment (soccer balls, basketballs, etc) is good for all ages as well as board games and art supplies.  Other gift suggestions are listed below.  If you send online look for free shipping options, Dollar General, Amazon over $25 are two that come to mind.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be blogging about warm items we’re making in addition to gift projects I’ve been working on this fall.  If you don’t craft you can still participate by providing  stocking stuffer items that can be added to small bags we’re making.  We’re trying to avoid a repeat of what happened last Easter when baskets were raffled off which was the only fair way to decide who would get a gift because there wasn’t enough for all the kids.

To start off the Christmas countdown Pine Ridge Babies and Sew For Kids have been making small bags to fill with stocking stuffers. I made felt bags, 6″ X 6″ with a 1″ x 10″ inch handle and pinked the edges for a little flair.  They can’t hold much so only small items are needed to fill them.   We’re trying to make enough of these bags for everyone, if you’d like to help let me know how many you’re sending and if there are any “stuffers” included.  We want to keep track of how many are sent and how many we still need to make.   Any questions regarding either project can be directed to me here at SFK.   Never underestimate the power of a small gift to a child that has little, last Christmas two children at the party come to mind.  One little girl was so excited to get a comb, she didn’t even want to come to the party because her hair was so messy and another had been wishing for a pair of warm mittens because her hands were always so cold.  Simple gifts, big impact!  Sew For Kids thanks you for whatever you’re able to do for these special kids!

Gift Suggestions ages 0-12:

Sports Equipment:  Baseballs/softballs, bats, mitts, basketballs, soccer balls, footballs, small bouncing balls, yo-yo’s, hula hoops, frisbees, jump ropes, etc.

Art supplies:  Crayons, markers, colored pencils, washable paint, small paint brushes, drawing paper, construction paper, paper punches, glue sticks and glue, safety scissors, glitter, etc.

Craft supplies:  Beads and beading supplies, ribbon, trims, yarn, knitting needles and crochet hooks, pre-packaged craft kits, etc.

Toys and games:  board games such as Candy Land, Monopoly, Sorry, Checkers, etc.,  books (board books for babies and toddlers), trucks, action figures, matchbox cars, dolls (native american or darker skin if possible), stuffed animals, puzzles, blocks and other simple baby toys, anything appropriate for children that doesn’t use batteries.

Accessories:  Warm hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, slippers, slipper socks,

Gifts for Teens:

Girls:  Hair accessories, shampoo/conditioner,  mousse and styling gel, small make-up items such as lip gloss, nail polish and manicure tools, journal/diary with nice pen, books, puzzle books, fleece blanket, socks, perfume, jewelry, gloves, hats and scarves, slipper socks, beading supplies and kits, art supplies, etc.

Boys:  Cologne and other toiletries, books, puzzle books, sports equipment, art supplies, socks, blanket, warm gloves, hats and scarves, slipper socks,  writing journal with nice pen, chap stick, nail clippers, wallet, solar calculator, etc.

Please mail your Christmas items here . Thanks from Sew For Kids.

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