March /April Wanblee Update

Jerome High Horse called last week to thank us for SFK’s contributions to the Easter party held on March 23rd. There were many other groups helping make the party a success including “Helping Hands for Rolland ( a facebook page), “Hearts of the Sacred Spirit”, “Pine Ridge Elders” Yahoo group” and the “Rapid City food bank”.  “SFK”” operates under the non-profit “Hearts of the Sacred Spirit” with Troy Dukes as Director. From time to time, Worldwide Hunger Relief, a non profit in Wisconsin, sends money to the foodbank in Rapid City so that Jerome and Theresa can purchase reasonably priced food for people in their area which includes those that frequently come knocking on their door asking for help. Food for the party was provided through some food bank purchases, from direct monetary donations to “Hearts of the Sacred Spirit” and from individuals that sent food items directly to Jerome and Theresa.

The party was an overwhelming success with over 500 people attending, ninety percent of them children. The Kennedy Hall looked festive decked out with all the Easter theme items donated. Snow started to fall as children collected their eggs, (about 9,000 of them!), obviously the egg request was heard! Your generous donations made it possible for the children of Wanblee to enjoy the same festivities of the season as our children do. These events give children something to look forward to, imagine the excitement around school as they talked with their friends about getting the “big prize” at the egg hunt. Now imagine the buzz around school on the Monday after the party where four new bikes were won by two lucky boys and girls. Jerome and Theresa had originally hoped to receive enough money to purchase one bike but the donations kept coming, enough in fact to purchase four! We all remember how special we felt getting a new bike as children, can’t you just see those big smiles as they rode off for home on their new wheels?       

It takes a lot of work to hold an event of this size and plenty of folks turned out to lend a helping hand. Community involvement is so important as it helps build strong relationships with others and gives people a sense of pride when they participate in a successful event that benefits their families and friends. The party was held in the Kennedy Hall which is the only building available in Wanblee that can hold an event of this size. Unfortunately the hall may soon be unavailable to hold any kind of community function as there are a few locals who want to see the space turned into a casino. Supporters want the change because it would provide employment for 7 people, opponents want the building to remain as it is for the use of everyone in Wanblee. We at SFK stand with the opponents as there have been many improvements in the community since they started holding these events, the most important being a drop in the teen suicide rate. Of course we don’t know for sure this is the reason for the reduction but Jerome and Theresa believe it has helped and so do we.   

Pictures of the party will be posted as soon as we receive them. Jerome is having problems downloading them to the website, he’s recovering from surgery he had earlier in the week, and he had to dig out from another Spring snow storm with some drifts reaching 5 feet. Another storm is on its way today.

Progress on Rolland’s home is coming along, it’s being constructed at Jerome’s and will then be moved on a trailer to it’s permanent home. The house must travel 20 miles but they’ll have to wait for better weather before they make that trip. Also it’s probably not a good idea to leave building materials unattended as many people need home repairs and might not be able to resist the temptation of helping themselves to some of the building supplies. Things move slowly on the Rez and there always seems to be problems that prevent projects from running smoothly, but eventually things work out so Rolland should soon be in his new home.    

The Daycare Center project needs are ongoing as they are open year round. They still need blankets and pillows for the older children and items to keep 5-12 year olds occupied such as crafting items, games, puzzles, etc. I spent today making pillows for kids from some knit material and throw pillows I found in my closet. I made an envelope pillowcase that can be made in about 20 minutes, can be easily removed and washed regularly especially in the “flu” season. All sizes of pillows are welcome, the kids come in various sizes. I am piecing quilt tops together with my material scraps but they will not be assembled and quilted until I move to my new home. I will share some samples of my tops in a future blog.

Spring is here (I think?) and children will need some warm weather clothing in the months ahead so our project for April and May is summer clothing and footwear for children ages 3-12.  Shorts, and T shirts are what most children wear but dresses with matching shorts are a favorite of little girls. Consider making a skort and a T shirt for a girl. For those of you who like to sew, time to get the machines out and those cute children’s prints. For others that like to shop it’s time for bargain hunting at garage sales, thrift stores and department store sales, just remember that used items be gently used.  All clothing will be sent to Jerome and Theresa who will distribute them to children in need. Don’t forget to look out for flip flops and other summer footwear to add to your box. If you are sending items, if possible let us know the size as we would like to have outfits in various sizes. Don’t forget to send pics of your finds and we’ll post them on the site. Check out our pattern page for ideas.

Finally I want to apologize for the lateness of this blog. We’re relocating and preparing our home for sale which takes an enormous amount of time. My once busy sewing days have pretty much come to a halt (temporarily!) but the good news is that while sorting through years of accumulation, I’ve found lots of stuff for the kids so will be sending those items off soon.  

Thanks so much from Sew For Kids, without you these projects wouldn’t be the great successes they’ve become. It’s all worthwhile to put a smile on the face of a child.


2 thoughts on “March /April Wanblee Update

  1. Even though they just had this year’s Easter party. It is time to look for next years stuff! Dollar General has 90% off all remaining Easter items. JoAnn’s and several other stores are marking their’s down for final clearance.

  2. Thanks for the heads up Donna. I am sort of out of it with the sales that are happening with everything else going on , so am glad that others are looking out for things that we all might benefit from. I am trying to get rid of stuff as moving to a smaller house so have to wait until I get to my new destination before I acquire new stuff.


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