Getting Ready For Winter

October is here and time to start on projects for the holidays and the upcoming winter season.  There’s plenty of news to share, too much for one blog, so this one will focus on Wanblee and the next on the shelter in Martin.  SFK volunteers have been busy sewing for our “pajama party” and have sent 159 pairs of PJ’s,  30+ pair of knitted/crocheted slippers,  85+ pillowcases and 84 new pillows to Wanblee and the shelter in Martin.  All the pillows and most of the pillowcases and PJ’s went to Wanblee for the party, the shelter received the slippers and some pajamas for younger children.  We’ll be sending more PJ’s to them as will be an ongoing need since kids will be taking them home when they leave.  There’s still plenty of time to finish up any projects you’re working on as they won’t be given out until the end of the month. Here are a sample of some of the items that were sent. There are many people to thank for this project’s success.

Jerome and Theresa planned to have a special pajama/pillow party at the Kennedy Center, but decided to save the $50 rental fee for another day and combine their party with the Halloween party.   A group of local volunteers got together and wanted to host a Halloween party for the kids on the 30th and asked the High Horses if they would help them find the resources.  Whenever there is mention of doing something for the kids Jerome and Theresa just can’t say no.   The group agreed to do all the work which includes preparing food, setting up booths, planning games and organizing the community “zombie walk” and of course the clean up afterwards.  NAHA sent costumes on their last truckload so they’ll be given them out to kids without one or to those who’ve outgrown their old one.  Sew For Kids’ main party commitments to the community are Christmas and Easter.  We’re posting the needs list for the Halloween party for those that may wish to do something extra.  Our volunteers do so much already and we don’t anyone getting burned out from too many requests.

Spook House/Carnival – October 30, 2015. Above are photos of last year’s party. What will we see this year?
The menu is healthy and will be fruit and veggie cups, PBJ sandwiches, cheese sticks for those with peanut allergies and bottled water.

Food Needs: sandwich/snack Bags, plastic fruit/veggie cups, bottled water, peanut butter, jelly, bread, cheese sticks.  Produce for the cups:  apples, grapes, bananas, oranges, snap peas, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, celery.

Booths Prizes:  Food such as crackers, granola bars, etc.,  small toys, stuffed animals, pillows, etc.
Halloween Decorations:  any kind

Obviously we can’t send fresh produce through the mail so Jerome suggested those that want to help with the food could send a small donation to Lakota Friend’s Circle through PayPal or by personal check.  They would like to purchase the food in bulk at Sam’s club in Rapid City to save money as they’re expecting 200-300 people.   Please send your donations here and state that it’s for food for the Halloween party.  LFC is a 501c3 so you will receive a tax donation form.

Even the Grandma’s love going through the booths so this is definitely a day for all ages to enjoy.  We’re excited to see more people in the community getting involved with projects and more organizations hosting events such as the Fire Department’s 4th of July party and the Ambulance Service’s movie nights, NAHA and local ranchers too.  Now the High Horses can be spectators and enjoy the event or at least have more of a supervisory role.  We’re also thrilled to see them making healthy food choices for the kids.  Fruit and veggie cups were served at the Easter party and the kids loved them so they wanted to have them again.

The Woodchucks returned home from their summer jobs off the Rez and were raring to go when Jerome mentioned a rancher needed a lot of wood cleared from his creek beds.  So last weekend, before any surprise winter storms hit, 30 men and women headed 50 miles north to gather, cut and load trucks with firewood.   Theresa and her crew arrived around noon to serve a hearty meal to the hungry workers.  Some of the elders have been calling about propane and wood as the Rez heating program doesn’t start until mid October.  Hearts of the Sacred Spirit’s heating program follows the same schedule so the firewood will help keep people warm until those programs begin.  Please visit Hearts website for more information on their heating program and how you can help, they are a 501c3 so  donations are tax deductible.  Wanblee is one of the communities they serve but since they depend solely on private donors we’ll have to wait and see how much assistance they can give this year.   Most of you already know but for the newcomers, SFK is a special program under Hearts which makes all your donations through us tax deductible as well.  We’ll be posting more information on heat for the Rez as we receive it.

Anne Fields, Director of Lakota Friends Circle, recently applied for and won a $5000 Home Depot award!  Now Jerome and his local crew, Bob and Mary from “Families Working Together” and a group of volunteers from Minnesota can begin work on the home of two men who’ve been living with a leaky roof for years and a bathroom with the outside wall missing.  Bob has a construction company in Wisconsin and through some negotiations with Home Depot was able to stretch the original award to include repairing the bathroom at the same time.  This will be the 3rd home that FWT has rehabbed over the last 2 years. The homeowners, one a disabled veteran and the other on dialysis, both have jobs helping a local rancher and earn $20 a day.  There’s little money left over from their small income to pay for home repairs as they have to buy gas for the trip to work and the dialysis clinic.  They are two very happy campers knowing that soon they’ll be living in a much warmer house, with a bathroom wall!

The Sewing Circle isn’t meeting formally in the Kennedy Hall because of the $50 user fee, but 6 women are sewing items for their homes, families and to sell, thanks to the machines and materials provided by this group. With winter rapidly approaching they want to make blankets so batting, fabric and thread are needed.  A 97 year old elder with mobility problems wants to make blankets for those in need in the community and has asked for donations of fabric so she can cut out squares to piece together for quilt tops.  We’re sure she could also use backing, batting and thread.   Lets help this dear lady out, still giving at such a young age! Items can be sent here to the High Horses.

Last month one of our members, Darlene Dean, and her husband took a truckload of items to Wanblee.  It’s a 12 hour drive from their home and this is the second year they’ve made the trip. The High Horses were delighted to hear they were coming, “such good people”, Jerome said. They collected loads of donated items from their community with the help of their two daughters, making it a family project.  Darlene is a wonderful seamstress and makes really great things for the kids. Food, clothing, books, toys, bedding, household items and plenty of other things were on the truck and  delivered to the High Horses, by 6:00 that same evening everything had been given out to those in need.  Included in some of those boxes were 62 pairs of PJ’s for the kids Darlene had been collecting all year which certainly gave a boost to our PJ project numbers.  While they were visiting, two people called the High Horses that were hungry and out of food and two elders called needing propane.  Jerome told of a local man that recently took in a  10 year old boy needing a home but didn’t have any clothing for him.  Thanks to all the donations the Dean’s delivered,  they were able to provide clothing for the boy and help with some of his other needs.  Many thanks and appreciation for all the hard work the Dean family did this year and for making the long drive to personally deliver it!   .

One of the projects for this month and the next 2 months is warm clothing, outerwear and accessories for kids ages 0-16 for Wanblee and for women and children 0-16 for the shelter in Martin. Winter is the time when people are most vulnerable and susceptible to hypothermia, more so on the Rez where many live in cold, poorly insulated homes, some even missing doors and windows.    They need our help now more than the rest of the year so get out your sewing machines, knitting needles or looms and crochet hooks and start making hats, mittens, cowls, scarves, socks, sweaters, slippers, blankets, sleep sacks for babies and anything else warm you can think of.  Check your closets, garage sales and thrift stores for warm coats, hoodies and sweaters and send them to the Rez.  If you have any boots, they would be most appreciated as few can afford to buy them, new or used in good condition are always welcome.  Those who work out in the elements in the harsh weather would be grateful for a pair of warm boots to wear. These items can also be made and given out as Christmas gifts.

The Halfknits sent several warm blankets to the shelter as did Beulah Lindberg and Marilyn Lee Bellonci . These 2 talented ladies take squares from members  of the Pine Ridge Elders group and turn them into warm blankets for the people. Vicki Sick also finished off an afghan she found at a thrift store and turned it into a useful blanket.

We are so thankful for all the volunteers who help out the Rez and our Wanblee and Shelter projects….. Sew For Kids Volunteers,  Sew For Lakota Kids Yahoo group, Pine Ridge Elders Yahoo group For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation Ravelry group, Lakota Friends Circle, Halfknits, Hearts of the Sacred Spirit and Families Working Together…..each using their talents and much more to help those less fortunate.  No one group or person can do it alone but together we can make a difference so we encourage you to check out these groups and join with us in our mission to make life a little brighter and happier for the children and their families on Pine Ridge.

The next blog will have the latest shelter news and more information about Christmas projects for both Wanblee and the shelter, we’re still waiting for details.  Many, many thanks to each and every one of you for being the special people you are and for having such compassionate and generous hearts.  You have made a huge difference to so many on the Rez and have especially made Jerome and Theresa’s and Kimmie’s jobs of helping their people so much easier.   We simply can never thank you enough, although we’ll keep trying!

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