Wanblee News for February

Well winter is still present on the Rez as it is in many states across the country, snow began to melt but the thaw was short lived as another storm is on the way.   Will it ever end??

Jerome, Theresa and the Woodchucks have been busy sawing wood as many folks still need it to keep warm.   Since the saws have really taken a beating this winter  I decided to send the funds to purchase new blades and chains for three of the saws as Jerome wasn’t able to sharpen them anymore.  The log splitter has also been in constant use and he’s had to do repairs on that as well.  Fortunately Jerome is an all around “Jack of all Trades” which comes in pretty handy when resources are limited.   The Woodchucks needed more gloves too as they go through them quickly unless they have leather palms.    A supply came in from some supporters so hopefully they can make it through the rest of the season with those.  If you see any good work gloves on sale and have a few extra dollars to spare they will be needed for next winter.

Propane has doubled and even tripled in some areas of the country which means more folks than usual are without heat.  Propane companies previously delivered a minimum order of $150 but this year that has increased to $200, an impossible amount to come up with for many households.  Hearts of the Sacred Spirit has helped many families, thanks to donations from many of you, and some funding is finally coming from the government but it’s still tough going on the Rez.   Your donations of warm items are important every winter but they have been a godsend this year!   Many thanks to Joan in MN,  Diane in NM and Carol in Maine for sending crock pots so families that couldn’t use their stoves could still prepare a hot meal.   This wonderful group reminds me of the famous quote,  “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

The storage truck (semi trailer) that was donated  a couple of months ago via Hearts of the Sacred Spirit made possible through Richard Field’s foundation, has received funding for some improvements.  Anne Fields (Richard’s wife) from Georgia knew the truck would need some remodeling to make it more usable,  so she applied for and received a $1000 grant to install shelving, insulation and electric.  Jerome and his volunteer crew will be doing the work and with spring break just around the corner he’s hoping college students will be descending on the Rez looking for volunteer opportunities.  He’s making a list!  Plastic storage containers will be needed for clothing, etc. that’s out of season so they’ve  been picking one up on their trips to Walmart.   I will be donating containers for the baby items, just waiting to see what size will best fit on the shelves.  We want Debbie and Theresa to have quick access to the stock and to let us know when things are running low.

New storage container

New storage container

Jerome has 2 homes that are in dire need of repair, actually they’re uninhabitable, but the occupants have nowhere else to go.  He’s been taking measurements of the homes and making a supply list, am waiting to see if there’s something our group can do to help.  He’s hoping to get help from Hearts of the Sacred Spirit and Worldwide Hunger Relief donors.  If any of you are interested in helping with the funding of this project, monetary donations can be made to Hearts of the Sacred Spirit just add a note which project it’s for.

The Kennedy Hall has a large electric bill that hasn’t been paid and Jerome had to go to the tribal council to see if they would help.  This is the only building the community has to hold holiday celebrations, funerals, group meetings, etc. and the same building Jerome and Theresa hoped to hold “movie night” for the community.   The council has agreed to help get the bill paid but they have to find a long term solution for future utility costs.  Presently there is a flat $50 fee per day to use the center which helps pay for building upkeep, cleaning supplies and utilities.  Some have used the building in the past, promised to pay the fee but never followed through, the monies will now be collected upfront.  Jerome and Theresa pay $50 out of their pocket every time they want to use the building for a party, NAHA deliveries, movie nights, sewing night for the ladies or any other function.

We’re trying to come up with ways to make the building more accessible and affordable for activities.  The winter months are the most costly with utilities running about $200 per month, summer months are much cheaper as they don’t use AC and there’s no concern about freezing pipes.  The building has electric heat which is expensive, more efficient lighting and solar panels are being discussed but this will take funding and won’t happen overnight.  Folks in the community that can afford it will contribute to the center but they will need help as most simply don’t have much to give.  Kids need a safe place to go for after school activities and recreation.  The women want to sew and the kids keep asking when the next movie night will be so we have to put our heads together and come up with a way to make it happen for them.  One of the ways we can help is to send supplies for movie nights and parties so we can relieve Jerome and Theresa’s pocketbook a little, they aren’t wealthy and do as much as they can with what they have.   Needed supplies are Styrofoam cups, plates, plastic cutlery, hot chocolate, popcorn and popcorn oil.  Gift cards to Sam’s Club are much appreciated as they can purchase large quantities of popcorn and oil there.  They hold back some cleaning supplies and toilet paper that come in from the NAHA deliveries to keep at the center for everyone to use.  We’re looking for ideas so put your thinking caps on and send them our way!

February has come to a close and that means we’ll be starting a new project. For those of you that made items for this month’s project they can be sent here. Thanks to all who participated in the towel, washcloth and pillowcase drive. If you don’t have enough right now to fill a good sized box wait until you do so the shipping costs are more affordable.  If you took pictures of your donations don’t forget to send them our way, we’d love to post them for everyone to see.

Next month we’ll be making bags for kids ages 0-14.  They will be used to collect Easter eggs at the party but we’re really making them for carrying books, clothes, toys or whatever else kids want to load in there.  If bag making isn’t your thing we’ll be sharing ideas for making stuffed animals or softies for the kids.  Easter isn’t until April 20th so we’ll have plenty of time to sew.  Janet has set up a March Pinterest board so send your ideas or favorite pins so we can add them.  Hope you can join us for this project!

Some photos of donations that came in for this month’s drive.  Several other items were donated but I do not have photos to share. Also other items that were not this month’s project were donated and I will highlight them in the month of that project. We are so thankful to have such great supporters  with generous hearts and such talent. !


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