The Sacred Shawl was started to address a need on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in SD. For the last 6 years or more there has been no safe place where women who have become victims of domestic abuse and violence, or where women who have been raped can relocate to until now. Kimmie Clausen , the Director of the Sacred Shawl, saw a need and got individuals in the community, the tribal council and other entities on the Rez involved with finding a location and applying for monies to support the venture. Numerous grants had to be written and with time, money and donations from many small organizations , the shelter became a reality. Recently they received a $475, 000 grant from the Dept of Justice that they will receive over the next three years. They need at least $200,000 yearly to run the place. Employee salaries takes a lot of the funds and at the moment they are functioning on a skeleton staff to save money. More grants are needed and some have been written but as we all know , its takes time for money to come in. The budget for food runs $800-1000 dollars per month, depending on the number of women and their children that month, and is purchased from the food bank in Rapid City at 18 cents /lb. It needs to be supplemented with local food such as milk, bread, veggies, cheese. And it cost $200 in gas to get to the food bank and back in addition to the employee time costs to drive there. Gas is needed to get women at the shelter to clinic appts, to court, to Rapid City to get documents they need again costing the organization money. And of course the utilities and the rent are a monthly cost ,with the utility bill varying with the climate changes. And to top it all, the shelter has also outgrown its size and although they have 3 more rooms, that they can add over the garage, they need the funds to do so.
After finding out about the shelter and after contacting the Director, we learned, that while the building had been found and utilities and rent were paid for the first year , there was no money in the budget to purchase needed items for the shelter, such as clothing, bedding, kitchen and bathroom needs, toys for kids, so our group decided to take on this project to see what we could do to make things better.
Kimmie Clausen continually reminds us that without our help there is no way that they could have opened the doors. Women and children who arrive at the shelter come with very few items, if any, having left their situation in a hurry. Victims of rape need clothing as clothing they were wearing when they were raped ,is taken away from them and used as evidence.
Sew For Kids and a few other groups, working alongside us, provide seasonal clothing on a regular basis as it needs replacing as people leaving take a few items with them. We send bedding and towels, cleaning supplies, food , toiletries toys for outside and inside use, make both comfort bags for kids and bags for the client to carry items with them when they leave , business supplies, school supplies and some party items for the major holidays. The shelter has lots of storage space so that other programs use the storage that we support, such as the Infant/Toddler program, the My Space Youth Center and people in the area or other areas on the Rez, benefit from items sent in as well.