I called Theresa and Jerome, heads of the Closet Project, to see how they were doing and ask about their needs. They’re finishing up some projects, including building outhouses and repairing homes in need of winterization, before the severe cold sets in. The wood program will start soon, a little behind schedule though, due to the above mentioned projects. Young men in the area volunteer their time to cut wood with Jerome and deliver it to families in need, many of them living in the outlying areas. Delivery needs to begin soon, before winter storms close remote roads that sometimes don’t get plowed for days.
The Halloween party was a success, over 230 children attended. Having kids participate in constructive activities with their families and friends helps keep them out of trouble and gives them exposure to positive role models. Many attend if there is food being served as everyone on the Rez is always just a little bit hungry, especially at the end of the month when food supplies are dwindling and there’s no money left on the SNAP card to buy more.
Theresa and Jerome are also busy planning a Thanksgiving community celebration on the 17th of November in the Kennedy Hall, they’re expecting about 300 people to attend. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the harvest and be thankful for all the things Mother Earth has provided for them throughout the year. However this year the harvest was not so great, like many parts of the country, they dealt with a severe drought and many crops just didn’t make it. Thanksgiving is also a sad day for many Native Americans, when Europeans arrived and took their land, their lifestyle went too, changing their lives forever.
They will eat the same traditional dinner that most of us eat on that day- turkey, ham, potatoes, mixed vegetables, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Theresa and Jerome often take out of their own pockets to pay for these events (they struggle to make ends meet just like everyone else on the Rez) because they feel it helps build community spirit and raise morale. I’ll be seeking donations from friends and family to help them with their dinner. If you would like to help, donations can be made through Hearts of the Sacred Spirit website, please state that your donation is to be used for the Wanblee Kennedy Hall Thanksgiving dinner. Hearts has donated $100 towards the dinner.
Soon after the dinner event, Theresa and Jerome will begin preparations for Christmas. They want to help children have a special day as most of the year their life isn’t so special. This year will be the first Parade of Lights and afterwards a surprise visit from Santa handing out gifts (if there are any). So our second project this month is to ask our volunteers to knit, crochet or sew hats, mittens and scarves for children of all ages. If you like to make blankets/afghans please do, they would love to have these for door prizes at the party. Although we’re not doing a formal gift drive at SFK feel free to send any children’s items you choose. This would be a great time to send those gently used winter coats, the most requested gift parents would give to their children if they could. Let us know here or our FB page what you’re planning to send so we can give Theresa and Jerome a heads up, their mailing address is here .
We also want to remind everyone that President Obama named November 23 as Native American Heritage Day which is the day after Thanksgiving this year. November is also Native American Heritage Month established to recognize the significant contributions (and sacrifices) Native Americans made to this country. Throughout the month a number of places will celebrate their ancestry and traditions.
Thanks to all our fabulous volunteers from Sew For Kids
Photos of the Halloween party