As previously promised, this blog contains pictures of some of the donations sent to Wanblee by our SFK members, for the Easter party being held this Saturday. Judging by the generosity of everyone, we think the kids should have a wonderful time with everyone receiving a gift. We gave you some ideas in this blog and many of you came up with your own creative gift bags. Many made gifts, others bought or did a combination of the two. Many said they found stuff hidden away in stacks of material or in a stash of gifts bought off season for this month’s project. Looks like kids will have play and sport equipment, crafting items or receive some of the basic items for their day to day needs with a special added touch! And all ages in the gifts I’ve seen are represented. The party will be simple this year without the game booths as they take so much time to organize and Jerome and Theresa have been so busy filling requests for assistance from the community there has been little free time for party planning. They will still have the annual Easter Egg Hunt for kids ages 3-10 with lunch being served afterwards outside if the weather cooperates , otherwise held in the Kennedy Hall. They will use whatever food they receive from Running Strong and from a trip to the food bank at the end of the month using funds donated by Families Working Together so the menu is still to be decided. The freezer that’s on their wish list would sure help to store food for events such as this and for meat and other perishables for the community, we’ll have more information on that subject later.
Several of you sent in plastic eggs stuffed with small prizes for the 300 plus kids attending. Money for the treat bags came in from several members of our group so each child will receive a bag containing fruit, nuts, granola bars and other healthy snacks and a little candy for a special treat. The High Horse’s are ordering most of these items from their local grocery/convenience store as they want to support local businesses and because the owners, who have been so impressed with the work Jerome and Theresa have been doing, they recently paid off the past due heating bill at the Kennedy Hall so it wouldn’t be closed. These generous people also donated hundreds of sandwiches for the last Christmas party and even entered a store float in the Parade of Lights. Many of our members sent crackers and other healthy snacks which will go in the treat bags as well. Many of you made bags for the party (over 300 at last count) which kids can use to collect eggs and/or take home their goodies. Thanks to Beulah, Deidra, Penny, Jill , Darlene, the Women’s Correctional Center in Vermont (who made 109 of them thanks to Cheryl T advocating for the kids) , Ruth G and to the many others we don’t know about. Here are some samples of their work, you can see all the love that went into making these bags.
Gifts for the party were made or provided by folks from several organizations ,SFK (Hearts of the Sacred Spirit is the 501c3 we’re under), Pine Ridge Elders, Families Working Together, Lakota Friends Circle, the two Ravelry groups where all the knitters and crocheters hang out…”For The Children of Pine Ridge” and “Sew For Kids” and Half-Knits which is a group of ladies that have been sending blankets and other things to the Rez for years. Many of you enlisted the help of friends and relatives, so we thank those individuals as well. We know we’ll miss mentioning some of you with so many wonderful things being sent in, and many of you sent things wishing to remain anonymous. I usually hear about unknown items, when the High Horses ask me to thank you for the gifts they recently received. They get behind on their thank you notes, (30 plus at the moment) due to community issues that need to be addressed. If you sent anything for the party, please know it is greatly appreciated by SFK and the High Horses’s, but mostly from the children who will be receiving your generous gifts on Easter and their families who get to see their children happy and know there are people out there that care about them. Even Jerome got a few gifts- some needed tools from Darlene D and family, Carol M and Diane in NM. Thank you ladies! Really the tools were a gift to all the men who help Jerome address the needs of their community. A skill saw is still needed by the work crew, if you know of anyone that has an extra one or let us know if you hear of a good deal on a new one.
Not everyone sent in photos but we can tell you the ages of people working on this project ranged from pre-teen kids (thanks to parents/grandparents for getting them involved) to folks in their 70’s and 80’s (thanks to Kerry R’s nursing home who made Easter bunny washcloths at their activity sessions) and to Janet’s mom (86) who has been collecting items for the last 2 months, our great recycler Beulah (80+), and Margaret H who has been helping the Rez in so many ways for so many years. We were all young once and we love it when kids get involved helping other kids, and who better to guide us as we make things for the younger generation. Ruth G, and Alice A and her her sidekick, sent in goodies and included food in their box for those who come knocking at the High Horse door. Jan E sent fun stuff for the bags. Brenda B sent in 1000 coloring books and others sent in crayons. DianeTells His Name and her crochet group sent in hats they made. Kat’s group, the halfknits sent in lots of baby blankets. Angela B. just joined our site and got right down to business , sending in underwear, socks, baby clothes and goodies and giving us some sewing tips. Many sent Easter items but also sent in other needs with their gifts. I have not had time to read thru the Ravelry donations but know of their past generosity to Wanblee and its surrounding communities. In previous years, before getting help from all the charities and groups mentioned above, there would be a drawing for a few Easter baskets toward the end of the party and that was all. Now each child will go home with a treat bag and at least one gift and all the goodies they find in their Easter eggs and a full belly of course. Ruthie G. and Janet S. from SFK donated funds for the bike raffle so 2 bikes for older kids and 4 tricycles for the little ones will go home with some lucky winners.
Gifts didn’t need to be expensive and many got bargains from coupon deals. We have a few on our site who really find those deals, Kerry R is our coupon queen with Donna S running a close second. Barb R is in the rear with her ability to find deals as are Penny and Deidra. Since filled Easter baskets are hard to mail, Kerry introduced us to shrink wrap so a simple gift could be wrapped and a ribbon added to make it look extra special. Large Easter baskets for the drawing will be provided by Families Working Together from WI. This charity is run by good friends of Jerome and Theresa who will be arriving soon to help with the party. Teens in their area made the baskets and also stuffed some Easter eggs for the hunt.
Lisa RDA and Judy C sent in loads of books to be handed out to the kids at the party. We know others included books in their boxes too, but these 2 ladies collected over a hundred each! Donna S contacted the principal at Crazy Horse school and sent, in addition to her Easter party gifts, many Dr Seuss books and activities, to celebrate National Reading month in March. Kids will read if they have books and Jerome has mentioned several times how the kids get bored as they have nothing to do. We all know that can lead to kids getting into trouble. One of the reasons they want to build a community center is so kids can have a safe place to go and play and learn under the direction of caring adults. They do hold activities now in the Kennedy Hall such as movie nights but there’s a rental fee of $50 every time they use the building and would rather use that money on needs for the kids. Many of you sent new or nearly new games, books, and puzzles and others made them – memory games, bingo, tic tac toe, etc. Those too will keep kids occupied. Loretta H made some cute Easter animals and brooches, Beulah L made sock bunnies and several sent cuddly toys like Debbie from IL (thanks too for the 20+ cake/pie pans) and Darlene. Lisa S, Kerry R. Vicki S, Jana L, Jill D and others made beautiful Easter outfits and other spring clothes. Lisa RDA and her friends made hundreds of little washcloth/soap bundles ,tied with pretty ribbons, that could be given out at the party or used in other ways such as bingo prizes for elders, etc. Linda D , Deidra and Pat J and her daughter in addition to sending Easter gifts, bought hand washers for moms with young kids. Many of those have been given out and are really appreciated, in an area where washing clothes is a big issue. The great thing about having a large group working together, is the combination of talent, time and resources we all bring to a project, so many more people can be reached when we share the load.
SFK “officially” helps with two parties a year, Easter and Christmas, so we want to make these days extra special for the kids. We made this decision so we wouldn’t burden our volunteers with constant requests for party things since we already have a monthly project list and most of you either have families of your own or are retired and live on a fixed income. Although we don’t help sponsor other parties, we will post information for those of you wanting and able to do more. Our Facebook group is already gearing up for Christmas with one of our members recently winning a bid on Ebay for a “doll lot” and she’s already busy making repairs and sewing doll carriers and clothing! Working ahead is great and we don’t want to discourage anyone but we still have a few months of projects to work on before the Christmas projects officially begin. For April and May we are making/purchasing summer clothing for boys and girls. Hopefully winter has died down in most of the country and that means garage sales are starting, which is a great place to get clothing for all seasons, blankets and linens and also where Janet S. and Ruth G. get most of the winter coats they send to the Rez each fall. If you haven’t already, please join us on one of our groups where we share ideas, pictures of projects and anything else that’s on your mind. Those of you who use Facebook can join us here and here. Yahoo group users can join us here and our SFK blog is here.
Thanks to all of you for helping make this year’s Easter party a smashing success! We both feel so grateful and lucky to work with such talented, caring individuals so willing to share with our Lakota friends. We will have a party report and hopefully pictures too in the next blog, along with Wanblee news and our new project information.
A picture is worth a thousand words so put up your feet and enjoy the slideshow of the photos we received.
Gift bags etc