November Happenings in Wanblee

I was lucky to catch Jerome last night as he and Theresa drove into their driveway. I usually talk to him for about an hour to catch up on the issues that they are dealing with currently.

This past week a donor offered to donate $5000 to buy a storage container so that the High Horses would be able to store items that they receive that are not seasonal( clothing, garden tools, special occasion decorations and supplies), food pantry items, diapers, toiletries,  TP etc), allow them to have items on hand when an emergency happens such as this past week when a family’s home burnt to the ground and the family was left with nothing,( some of the items sent in by the group helped) and also will allow them to let us know items and sizes they are low in because shelves will be built inside and items stored by size and season.

The items do not stay long in the current basement storage area, but having some things on hand does help out when a need arises, especially since heading off to a store is not as simple as traveling a few miles away, 2 plus hours is more like it and unlikely if winter weather has set in. The High Horses do not mind using the basement but Theresa would like to be able to use it for a sewing room, where women and girls can come together to sew, learn and to build community and make items to sell or for their families.The Kennedy Hall can be used but the cost is $50 per session for rental (to help pay the heating costs and upkeep) and that is not something that many have money to help with as they have their own bills to pay, so hopefully this will happen. The High Horses found a sponsor for the Kennedy Hall cost for the holidays like Christmas,Thanksgiving etc but the individual can not afford to do it for every weekly event.

Last weekend the High Horses showed a movie to the kids. Although it is cold outside, the movie was shown outdoors under a tarpaulin, the outdoor wall of the High Horse house was used as the screen, the sound system , DVD player etc, thanks to a donor, was set up on a table and the people brought blankets to sit on and to keep warm, snuggling together to retain heat. Remember those drive- ins we all endured in our youth! Once it gets really cold they will move into the Kennedy Hall and hope to have movie and game nights. If you have DVDs or games you are no longer using, they would gladly put them to good use for this program. They buy the DVDs at Walmart for $5 when they can but not sure of the quality. Kids need things to keep them busy and out of trouble so that is why the High Horses are interested in these events. Movie theaters are miles away and not affordable, so for the kids this is such a treat, even the adults come. And again it helps build community.

Theresa and Jerome, to keep with the theater atmosphere, serve popcorn(the machine donated by the police dept) and to warm the soul, coffee and hot chocolate from packets sent in by people like you and from purchases they pick up from the Dollar Tree. Just add water packets are fine. Jerome and Theresa can not pay for all the popcorn and hot chocolate if they are going to try and do this weekly or whenever they have the funds so when you send a box to the High Horses, if you happen to be in a place where you can buy a package, slip it into that unused spot in the box. Items needed are popcorn kernels, oil, salt, small bags and cocoa. Anyone got a homemade recipe they like using dry milk powder, cocoa and low sugar or a place to get good deals on coffee and hot chocolate? Love to get protein into kids with the milk powder. Any help with this is appreciated.

The High Horses are looking at ways to earn money for such events or for providing food and drink for the youth horse rides. Renting a space, then renting booths to people who can sell their wares, is a possibility but nothing definite has been decided. Suggestions are welcome.

Donations keep arriving and the High Horses who keep a record of every donation that comes in, said that new people, even as far away as Australia, have been sending boxes their way, which pleases them no end. Its like Christmas at their house daily. Nurse Debbie came this past week to visit with the High Horses and to pick up items sent in for the babies and toddlers at the clinic. She was very excited and is amazed at what she receives and the talent in the group.

The donations have also had a positive effect on keeping the Wanblee post office,(which was slated for closure) open, as people are kept so busy processing the items that come in. The area does not need any more closures as that means less jobs and more issues with hunger etc. And the High Horses have become friends with the UPS and the Fedex drivers who frequent their home and even invite them in for coffee if time allows. So you have helped the community in another way, at least for now.

Gloria is now putting together the Christmas boxes and is pleased with what came in, as mentioned last week. She again said to tell you “Thanks” . And I just found out that Hearts of the Sacred Spirit, the 501c3 we work under, has managed to come up with 400 Christmas stockings, all sewn by the Director’s mom. A big thanks to Troy’s mom for this effort. Donors sent in items to fill them and those stockings will cover the teenage group as well. So they should be in good shape if 700 people show up again this year.

Last year’s Santa is coming back again. He is an old biking buddy of Jerome. The kids believe he is the real Santa when they see him with his long white hair, his long white beard( which was pulled several times last year to test out if it was real), his large paunch and that cheery HO !HO ! HO! that echoes throughout the room. Jerome and he laugh about the paunch which has been years in the making ! The kids liked him so much last year that he had to return. And the Parade of Lights will once again take place.

Daily the High Horses are reminded of the hunger issues on the Rez. The kids knock on the High Horses door and ask if they can “borrow “a sandwich which makes them chuckle. Or people will call and ask if they have any Indian steak to spare, which is bologna. Every week Theresa tries to feed certain kids from the school an afternoon snack as she knows they will not get dinner that night or need those extra calories to fatten them up a bit. And every weekend, a few elders call and they prepare a box lunch for them, most likely these calls will increase as the elder lunch program shut down, at least for now. Any little can of tuna, chicken, a container of peanut butter etc are great things to add to a box heading to the Rez.

Winter is a hard time for all on the Rez and even in our own communities, but in most cases, social services are more numerous in our areas. Hearts of the Sacred Spirit is in need of donations for the winter assistance heat drive. I know you all send boxes and know that that adds up but if all the current people who like our site can spare $5( hit up 5 family members, friends or coworkers for a $1 donation and explain how that will help our Native American friends), then that money

can be used to fill 8-10 propane tanks and keep those families warm for close to a month,

OR

can be used to repair saws, purchase a few new saw blades or provide the fuel to run them so the men who volunteer their time, can cut and deliver a load of wood to a family who heats and cooks with a wood stove

OR
will allow the lights to stay on for those who will soon lose them, if the utilities are not paid.

Each family is only helped once per year with wood, or propane or utilities through Heart’s winter heating program. Whatever help you can give to the program is appreciated. Please state how you want the donation used. Donations can be made via paypal on their site  or for those who write checks, the address is 

Hearts of the Sacred Spirit

2406 Waters Edge Drive,

Newark , DE.19702

And of course all the items you have all recently sent in are already making a difference to those recipients. For that, Sew For Kids is grateful, for without our supporters there would be no program. Thank YOU!

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