Can it be that November is here already and what happened to October? Well that means it’s getting colder on the Rez so our project for the month is warm accessories; hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, socks, slippers, quilts, afghans and anything else that can keep a body warm.Time to get those hooks and needles flying, sewing machines buzzing and purging your family’s closets for things that will keep our Rez kids and their families warm. For some of you I know they are always in working mode! Winter is always a concern if you live in a harsh climate but for those that live in poverty it can be downright brutal. Although kids are our main focus here, we’re also concerned this year about the elders, the disabled and those that are ill because of all the government cuts to programs they depend on. They will certainly have a difficult time this winter staying warm and getting enough nutritious food to eat. Hearts of the Sacred Spirit is raising funds for their winter heating program so we’re asking everyone, if you can, to please make a donation (no amount is too small) to help keep our Rez families warm this winter.
We did get a head start on warm items as the Christmas boxes for the children will have hats and mittens in them that many of you made or are still in the process of making, myself included. Gloria says they’re packing those boxes up mid November so they can see what’s still needed. They’ll be accepting donations through the end of the month but earlier is definitely better when you’re trying to assemble 250 gift boxes! Hopefully we’ll get a picture of the packing to share with you. Any late shipments can be sent directly to Jerome and Theresa. In addition to the Christmas gifts, Gloria and her group are collecting winter coats, warm clothing and blankets to take along so if you have any of those items include them in your box. Janet lives within driving distance of Gloria and plans to take a truck load of winter coats and warm clothing she and her SIL have been collecting all year. Gloria and Lisa will be renting a Uhaul, size dependent upon what they receive, to deliver all the donations to Wanblee. For those of you still shopping she did say they are short on things for boys ages 3-12. She sent this note along for you…………….. “I have to say again, THANK YOU SO MUCH. This is such a wonderful experience to have packages coming from all over the United States to help the Lakota children. I do send thank you cards to each person as the packages come in so they know it was received but that alone does not convey the appreciation for all the caring people. Gloria”
Last year’s Christmas party was planned for around 500 people but more than 700 attended, we’re thinking the same thing will probably happen this year so anything you want to send will be greatly appreciated. People come to get a good meal and a gift for their children as most families are just squeaking by and have no extra money for gifts. It hurts parents to know they can’t afford even a small gift for their child at Christmas, bless all of you with your BIG HEARTS that help put a smile on those little faces!
Speaking of parties the Halloween party was a huge success with over 400 people attending. With all your donations ($340 raised) Jerome and Theresa were able to feed everyone! The kids asked for a “zombie walk” around the building before they went in and a few were given prizes for their costumes. They had 5-6 different game booths with prizes for the winners and door prizes, thanks to all of you that sent Halloween goodies. A special thanks goes out to Richard (husband of Anne Fields) and his foundation for donating movie equipment and a sound system, through their generosity kids can now look forward to “movie nights”! Jerome used the sound system to hook up a microphone which saved his voice as emcee of the Halloween party. We will get photos of the party for you but Jerome’s ISP requires downloading pictures one at a time which takes time he doesn’t have right now so stay tuned for those. Thanks to everyone who helped the kids have a nutritious meal and a fun day. Even grandmas participated in the cake walk!
Back to the November project, we’ll be knitting, crocheting, sewing or purchasing warm accessories, clothing and blankets. Remember those days as a child getting all bundled up to go outside and play in the snow, sometimes having so many clothes on you couldn’t move? Well children on the Rez are no different, they love to go outside and play too but their “bundling up” consists of a sweater or sweatshirt and some old socks for mittens which means playtime is cut short because of frozen hands and feet. Help us bundle these kids up so they can play outside which gets them get the exercise they need to help keep their weight down and prevent diabetes. Many of the men that volunteer with Jerome to cut and haul wood for families need bundling up too. Theresa said when they first started the wood program workers showed up wearing a sweater with no gloves and tennis shoes, they ended up working for a short time and then going home. Since they’ve been receiving all your warm donations, many more volunteers now show up which makes the workload lighter for everyone. Payment comes in the form of a good home cooked meal from Theresa at the end of the workday. Warm donations for the men are always needed as wood cutting is hard work and especially tough on gloves, socks and coats and need to be replaced yearly. These same men also deliver the wood and sometimes food to families in need. In addition to the warm items they also need saw blades, oil, etc. to keep the equipment going, if you would like to help with that make a donation to Hearts of the Sacred Spirit and state how you want your monies directed.
Elders, many sickly, who venture out for medical appointments and have to sit in cold vans, need warm things to wear. Either Theresa and Jerome deliver the items to hungry elders who call for food assistance or hear thru the moccasin trail about an elder living in a cold home without warm blankets or clothing. Nurse Debbie will deliver items to elders when she does her weekly visits if she notes a need in the home at the previous visit.
Babies living in poorly heated homes need warm clothing and blankets which is why we make all those warm things for Debbie to give out to new mothers. She gives out whatever warm things she has to the older children too, at the WIC office where she works, which encourages parents to show up for their check ups and vaccinations. Last year Standing Rock Reservation was in such dire need of warm clothing for their kids that a plea came to the High Horse’s who made an emergency trip there to deliver what they had. Many of the kids at Crazy Horse school are being bused over from Rosebud Reservation so many of those families have heard of the work the High Horse’s are doing and give them calls for help. Sometimes they’ll get a call from the school asking if they have anything for students that come poorly dressed for the cold. Everywhere you turn on the Rez someone is in need of a coat, a pair of mittens or a hat to keep them warm. Whatever you send will find a grateful recipient!
So let’s join together and see how many of these winter needs we can supply …………Mittens, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, hoodies, coats, any clothing suitable for winter, socks, boots or waterproof shoes, warm sleepsacks, nylon jackets for a windbreak layer, warm PJs, slippers, and blankets of all sizes. Enlist your friends, family, co-workers, churches, social groups, etc. to put a box together for the Rez. At this time I especially want to thank Nancy Bishop Ward who is running a coat drive in her local area of the US, to Amy Gilpin who ran a warm drive in Canada, and to Janet Schnurlein and her sister -in- law Ruth Gruel who have acquired 100+ coats over this past summer at garage sales and resale shops .
Please share photos of projects you’re working on or warm things you’re collecting and any favorite patterns you like to make. Let us know what you’re sending so we can inspire others and work on any shortages of items or sizes. Thanks again to all our dedicated followers. Together we can make a difference!!