We’re well into January and I do apologize for not posting until now although I did manage to get some information out about the project on our Facebook page and Yahoo group, both of which you are invited to join.
Winter came in like a lion and is still roaring in lots of places across the US including the Rez. Due to the unusually harsh weather Hearts of the Sacred Spirit has been inundated with calls for heating assistance, they’ve already helped over 70 people this winter and it’s only been here 3 weeks! The Heating assistance program runs from October through March. Jerome High Horse and his Woodchucks are doing their best to get wood cut and delivered to those with wood stoves. They also recently installed 3 new stoves, 2 of them donated by a woman from Ohio who personally drove them to the Rez and the other one coming from Hearts of the Sacred Spirit. We want to prevent families from burning clothes, furniture and other items they have in the house in order to keep warm, something that is done out of desperation. Jerome is handing out the warm clothing and blankets you’ve all so generously donated. Most homes are cold even if they have wood or propane as homes are usually poorly insulated and in a state of disrepair. As a result people were asking Jerome for electric heaters and a request went out to Pine Ridge Elders (another group I’m a member of) and 20 heaters were delivered this week with most already distributed.
Some of our wonderful supporters are making monetary donations to Hearts for the heating program (it takes $150 to partially fill a tank) and are getting the word out to others about this critical need. Thanks to each and every one of you that gave money, donated a coat, knitted a pair of mittens or crocheted a hat, each act of kindness means a warmer person on the Rez. We found out a bit of good news, there was a little extra help this year with heat, each tribal member received a $333 credit to use for utilities or heat if they filled out an application. Unfortunately not every one received help as many either couldn’t get to the site the day the census was held or weren’t aware of it because they lacked a radio, TV, electric, etc.
Even the lucky ones that received it will only be warm for a short time, $333 doesn’t last very long when wind chills are -50. The heating bill for my home in Illinois that is well insulated and with the thermostat set at 55 was $200 this month and that’s without heating water or cooking! My sister who lives in Canada spent 5 days without heat and electricity over Christmas. She put on as many warm clothes as possible and covered up with blankets and was still so cold that by the 5th day she started crying from the stress of trying to keep herself warm and not having a hot meal to eat. She finally managed to get a generator but that’s not something people on the Rez can afford. This might be a one time experience for my sister but unfortunately is a yearly event on the Rez.
So that being said, we decided to keep making warm things through the month of January as we don’t know how long winter will remain. So we’re asking you to please send any warm things you have mittens, socks, hats, scarves, long underwear, coats and blankets for all sizes baby through adult here. Jerome and Theresa are getting daily calls for warm things including calls from 4 families that lost their homes to fire. All your donations find a grateful recipient as families are always in need no matter the time of year, it’s just more critical during the winter.
There’s a few new happenings on the blog, we’ve set up a Sew For Kids Pinterest page and already have quite a few boards for you to browse. Most of the pins are for free patterns from some very generous bloggers that offer their patterns or tutorials for free. We hope to have a new board up each month for the project we’ll be working on with some suggested patterns or ideas, of course you may still use your own personal favorites. If you would like to share your favorite send us the link and we’ll pin it on our board.
We’re also updating the site as some groups we no longer help due to funding cuts or administrative issues (Rosebud Hospital and Wanblee Daycare). We ARE still sending to Jerome and Theresa High Horse and Nurse Debbie will pick up her baby items from them. Programs may open and close, new administrations come and go but the needs of the people remain constant. Your donations are distributed directly into the hands of the people that need them the most. Remember not everything has to be sewn, knitted or crocheted, they don’t even have to be new, just in good used condition that meet our guidelines. All crafters, shoppers, and thrifters are welcome here!!
We know some of you have your favorite things to make and won’t participate every month but that doesn’t mean you can’t work ahead and make a stockpile. Clothing is needed in all sizes for kids ages 0-12 so sew for everyone or just babies if that’s your specialty. There are plenty of teens that need clothing too but when they get to be a certain age they prefer ready made clothing. Hopefully when the storage system is set up in the trailer we’ll know more about their inventory and what size or items are needed most.
Here’s a quick overview of what our monthly projects will be this year to give you a heads up. We’ll be blogging about each month’s projects giving more details and patterns.
January – Warm winter clothing and blankets
February – Towels all sizes, washcloths and pillowcases,( pillows if you want to make for kids). Used towels are acceptable
March – Tote bag month for books, or toy, home made or purchased, they’ll be used for Easter gifts at the annual party and egg hunt.
April – Girls month – making spring/summer dresses, shorts, skirts , skorts and tops
May – Boys month – making spring/summer shorts, pants and tops
June – Baby month – making diaper bags, burp pads, bibs, etc
July – school supply month – book bags, pencil cases, paper, pencils, notebooks, glue, etc
August – socks, underwear (patterns to sew your own on our Pinterest page), shoes, winter PJs
September- Warm school clothes for boys and girls including hats mittens and coats
October – Christmas gifts
November -Blankets, mittens, hats , scarves, coats
December – Rest and relax or work on warm items .
None of this is written in stone and is subject to change but it’s what we feel is needed at this time. You can send any of the items at any time of the year now that we have a truck to store items in. The only exception is Christmas gifts, if there’s a need before next November they won’t be saved.
So please join with us and help make this our most productive year yet. Although we send all our donations to Wanblee Jerome and Theresa do get calls for help from the surrounding areas and if they have any needed items load up the car and promptly deliver them. Such is the Indian way, “Mitakuye Oyasin”, or “we are all related”.