Its been a while since we posted any news on the Wanblee area so wanted to let you all know what’s been going on there. Now that summer is here volunteers are or will be arriving to do various projects for the community. The main activity for the High Horses is to get the community center built. Jerome and Theresa are working with the non profit Families Working Together to make this project a reality. It has taken a lot longer to begin work than they had anticipated, first adequate funding had to be raised to begin the project, then the original building plans went over budget so those had to be revised. Although they have funds for the initial work, more will have to be raised to complete the building as they envision. Although SFK isn’t involved with building the center we do hope to help with some of the resources they’ll need for the community programs held there. If you would like to make a monetary donation to help with the build, you can do so at the FWT website. SFK works together with FWT on the annual Christmas and Easter parties.
Youthworks has arrived and started work this week painting houses, building outhouses, mowing grass and cutting weeds (so rattlesnakes are more visible), and helping people, mostly elders, set up their gardens. Each group of kids stays for a week and in addition to all the work they do, there is some spare time to take tours of the Rez and learn about Lakota culture, compliments of Jerome.
Jerome says they’re in need of a few more push mowers and cordless drills to get more volunteers working on projects so if anyone has an extra or wants to purchase a new one we know they would be thrilled to have it. If you happen to be making a trip to the Rez this summer bring it with you, drop it off and say Hi to Jerome and Theresa. SFK is mainly a sewing group but we do like to post needs of all kinds because some of our volunteers like to send tools, and other needs.
NAHA and Running Strong distributions continue with gas money being supplied by Lakota Friends Circle. Jerome and Theresa head to the food bank in Rapid City toward the end of every month when food stamp money is running out. LFC also supplies the gas money for these trips and sometimes helps with the purchase of food.FWT also provides food money but presently all their funds are tied up with the community center build. Anne Fields, Director of LFC, recently applied for and won a $1500 grant from Walmart which will certainly help with food needs this summer. One Spirit was planning to open a food bank in Wanblee but those plans have now been canceled. Once the community center is finished and equipped with freezers and shelving, the food bank in Rapid City will deliver the food to them. Although they’ll still have to pay a gas charge and the 18 cents per pound for food, Jerome and Theresa won’t have to make the long trip each month which will save them valuable time. Currently any food coming in has to be distributed immediately as there are no freezers or storage areas which means any emergency food requests are handled by the High Horses with funds being taken from their own pocket. A soup kitchen is planned for the new center so having the ability to store food will mean they’ll have something on hand to cook and will also make the job of filling out the monthly food order easier.
Finally a 4th of July party is being planned with the expectation that 350-400 people will attend. There is food for the party, thanks to the Walmart grant, but they want to have games for the kids and need prizes, such as jump ropes, kites, bubbles, sand box toys, balls, bats, gloves, bike accessories, fishing poles, and any other outdoor toys. If you would like to help with any of the above, prizes can be sent to the High Horses at this address or monetary donations to PayPal Lakota Friends Circle . Please tell them on the PayPal form how your donation is to be used. If you’re sending prizes via Amazon or other online store, please note on the order that it’s a gift and add your name and address so they’ll know whom to thank. Kids look forward to the party and usually the chairperson of the district finds some money for fireworks. SFK doesn’t “officially” sponsor this party but some of our members do like to contribute so please help if you feel so inclined.
Well that’s all the news from Wanblee for now, another blog shortly to update you all on the latest from the women’s shelter in Martin. Jerome and Theresa extend their deepest thanks and gratitude to everyone that sent in donations of kids shoes and summer clothing over the last month. Thanks to your kindness kids are out enjoying their summer activities with proper attire. Thanks to everyone at SFK for your continuing support and generosity.