Ways to Help Marty Indian School

Marty Indian School is our newest assistance area and began at the start of the 2016 school year after elementary principal, Gina Curran, contacted us for help, more about the school here.   A few of our members have recently visited the school and noted that while the school has many wonderful programs and teachers, the building and grounds are in need of repairs and updates.

SFK member, Penny Nickols, noted on her visit to the school last fall that the playground could really use an update.  The playground currently serves 95 children.


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Penny recently found a sweepstakes with a grand prize of a $30,000 healthy playground makeover that we can all enter to help them win. There’s an initial sign up page to complete where you’ll enter Marty, SD 57361 in the appropriate boxes after which two choices appear, click on “Marty Indian School”, fill in your information below and you’ll be registered.  Return to the page every day and vote until March 24, 2017, the more entries the more chances to win.  This is something we can all do, costs nothing and gives these deserving kids a chance to win a much needed playground.  Please post the information on your website, tell friends and family and help us get the word out.  Thank you!

Other ways we can help the school is by saving box tops from specially marked packages   these items earns points which can be redeemed for various school needs.  Please help by collecting the box tops and including them with your next shipment to the school.

If anyone has a Smartphone and wants to join us on Shoparoo, sign up yourself or use this code  (GLUD2158) and it’ll get the school some extra points and money for program needs. Here’s where to get the app…. https://app.shoparoo.com/r/glud2158   Copy  your receipts within 2 weeks of shopping and  send to  Shoparoo for Marty Indian  Elementary school. You can choose a grade to help. Money comes in at the end of the school year. 

And finally the last way to help is by sending supplies to the school for the Feather Store .  They can always use toiletries, shoes, clothing, socks and underwear and the kids have absolutely loved the new pillows and colorful hand sewn pillowcases we’ve sent.  Toys, books, and school supplies are also needed.  Read the blog at the link above to read more about this wonderful program.  Please send your donations for the school here.

Thanks so much for your continuing generous support of Marty Elementary School!!








Marty School, Wanblee and Martin News

 Marty Indian School – Students enjoyed their two week Christmas break and are back in class hitting the books.  They were especially thrilled with all the wonderful gifts from their room parents and several parents received thank you letters and hand made cards from their classes.  Students are certainly sleeping a lot warmer now thanks to the blankets and pillows they received for Christmas.  The kids are eagerly awaiting Valentine’s Day next Tuesday when they will have a class party and exchange valentines.  Room parents are sending snacks and activities for them to enjoy at the party.  A special thanks to Donna Snider for sending enough valentines for the entire elementary school!  You can read more about elementary school activities in their newsletter here.

Elementary Principal, Gina Curran, was asked what was needed for the Feather Store and the first thing she said was “pillows and pillowcases, the kids love them”!   They continue to be one of the most popular things we make and wherever they’re sent we always get requests for more.  Other needs are toiletries, feminine hygiene items such as maxi pads for the older girls, food items that can be sent home in backpacks, pencils, erasers, colored pencils, backpacks and pencil cases.   If you would rather make a monetary donation for any of these items Paulita, Feather Store Manager, has offered to go shopping and purchase any of these items locally using the school car.  Donations can be sent via PayPal to Lakota Friends Circle  or send a check by mail to Marty Indian School  c/o Gina Curran .  They will both send you a charitable donation form.  Please let them know how you want the money used. Another urgent need is shoes in youth sizes 1, 2, and 3 for both genders.  At the end of the school year the shoe company, Tom’s, gives a new pair of shoes to each student which sees them through the summer, but there are several students in need of shoes now.  If you can help with shoes or any of their needs ,it would be greatly appreciated.

In addition to managing the Feather Store, Paulita is also an artisan in traditional Native American crafts such as beading and quill work.  She has offered to teach these skills to the older elementary students if she can get help with supplies.  She would need items such as beads (size 11), beading thread (size D)  and beading needles (size 11 sharps) that can be found online at http://www.crazycrow.com/onlinestore.   Also needed is deer leather either German tanned or brain tanned, this leather is the easiest to bead.  An online source for this leather can be found at http://siouxtrading.com/   It’s important to teach the younger generations the traditional arts and crafts of their culture so please help if you can.  Paulita also hopes to teach quilting skills in the future.

Here is a note from Gina re the project.“I talked to Paulita and she stated that one hide would be enough for all of the children. She would like to teach the children to make medicine pouches and tobacco/cedar pouches. Any size 11 seed/Czechoslovakian cut beads will work… they need to be made with a good tanned leather hide or the children will not be able to get their needles through the leather without breaking their needles. The children will make them to wear or to share with their families. Thank you!   Gina”

  The school no longer needs library books for the library as they are being supplied by a reading organization in Rapid City. Students meet with special reading teachers to improve their skills and advance to the next higher reading level once they read and comprehend their current book.  Students are looking forward to Read Across America next month when each student will get a copy of a Dr. Seuss book. Teachers make it fun for the kids by decorating their classrooms, having plenty of activities to do and of course reading books. Children’s books can still be sent to the school to help build individual class libraries or for kids to take and build a home library.

The school is still accepting aluminum pull tabs from soda cans and also Box Tops for Education labels from participating products.   Each of these items is worth 10 cents so if we all join together, it could mean a sizeable donation for the school.  When sending a box to the school just include whatever tops or tabs you have saved in an envelope or baggie.

Wanblee – The High Horse’s are still sending out thank you notes, they received so many wonderful gifts for the party it’s taken a lot longer than usual to get them finished.  Jerome and Theresa have  been on the road giving speeches to organizations in hopes of getting donations they need to finish the community building.  They were recently in Chicago receiving an honorary membership in the University Key Society at the University of Illinois-Chicago.  They will be returning to that city soon for a couple of speaking engagements.  Work on the community center has pretty much stalled due to the cold and snowy weather.

Jerome and the Woodchucks have been out cutting and delivering wood to families in need.  Most homes also have propane but they try to conserve as much as possible so gas is available to run other appliances.  This year’s LIHEAP program only provided funding to help about half of all households on the Rez and they won’t be receiving that help until the latter part of the heating season.  Thankfully warm blankets, coats, hats and mittens have been have been sent to Wanblee thanks to the generosity of SFK, the Ravelry group “For The Children of Pine Ridge”, Halfknits, Pine Ridge Elders and Families Working Together.  Hearts of the Sacred Spirit has been helping get propane to the homes that need assistance as funds become available.  Winter on the Rez has been tough this year and it doesn’t seem to be coming to an end any time soon.

The chainsaws were in desperate need of new chains and bars with an estimated cost of $240 and once again Darlene Dean and her generous family stepped forward to help Jerome and the Woodchucks tune up their saws so they could continue cutting wood and keep families warm.  The Dean family not only helps maintain the chainsaws but assists with so many other needs in the Wanblee community.  Thank you Darlene and family!  Jerome and his crew cut wood all year long so the saws hardly ever take a break and do need require a lot of maintenance.  We’re hoping some members of our group will help the Dean Family keep those saws running by making a small donation to Lakota Friends Circle.  Thank you!

We recently received a note from Jerome saying, “We have two new woodchucks, need insulated bibs or coveralls size XXL & XXXL, work boots or insulated boots size men’s 12-W, & 13-W.   Thanks if you can help, Jerome”.  These men volunteer their time cutting and delivering wood and are out in all kinds of horrible weather.  A couple of SFK members have already helped; Sue Van Skiver sent a lot of warm insulated underwear and Elaine Evans recently spoke to the manager of her local Tractor Supply (TSC) store and found he was willing to donate a pair of 3XL insulated bibs.  Thank you Sue and Elaine!  We’re hoping to get some boots for the men through Soles 4 Souls.  If anyone has any warm outerwear in larger sizes or boots in good used condition they would be greatly appreciated, the mailing address is here.       .

Members of SFK and Ravelry group “For The Children of Pine Ridge” recently helped a homeless mother with 7 children by providing shoes, clothing, coats, blankets, toiletries and many other needed items.  Fortunately by the time our donations started arriving a home was found for the family and Jerome delivered all the gifts we sent shortly after they moved in.  We didn’t send anything for the mother as she didn’t give her size when Jerome made the list which isn’t unusual, most mothers are concerned with their children’s needs and are just thankful to get something for them.  We’re hoping to get a size for her in the near future and look forward to helping her too.  Thanks to everyone that helped this family, you were all so generous!  Jerome has learned of another mother with 8 children who really needs our help, we’ll post more details when we get them.  SFK  loves to help families that have been identified by our area contacts as really in need and struggling.  These families are at risk and with all of us joining together we can help make their lives a little easier and maybe relieve some of the stresses they have to face every day.

We don’t have a date for the Easter party yet but Jerome has asked for 100 pillows and pillow cases, the kids just love them!  Most of the pillow cases have already been made and many pillows already delivered, we’ll have an exact count soon.  We have the BEST volunteers!!  Other needs are baskets, plastic eggs for the egg hunt, candy, and stuffed animals.  Donations to purchase food, (hot dogs, chips, fruit, water) can be made to Lakota Friends Circle here.  Thank you for helping make the Easter party special for the kids!

Martin – Recent requests for the shelter are warm pants such as sweats, fleece, etc., socks, shoes and underwear for women and children.  Some of our group has been busy sewing underwear, you can see some of their beautiful work in the pictures below.  Other needs are towels, sheets, blankets, plastic dishes, utensils, plastic cups, etc. for clients leaving the shelter and moving to a new apartment or home.  They’ve recently received donations of towels, pillows and pillowcases, sheets, blankets and some household items.  Some of you have also sent pants, underwear, socks and shoes.  Deidra and Angela  sent cleaning supplies for the shelter and the youth center and Barb and Laurie sent baby formula.  Local hospitals no longer give out formula to new mothers because they want to encourage breastfeeding. Those that can’t breastfeed have to buy formula using food stamps or obtain it from the WIC program which doesn’t last the entire month.  Laurie A. from SFK and a Ravelry member have been sending diapers every month to the shelter which really helps women there and in the local community.  Some of our group are making cloth diapers and plastic pants so women have something to use when diapers, and the funds to buy them, runs out toward the end of the month.  Having resources available to help people when they come calling is such a blessing and a huge weight off Kimmie’s shoulders.  She said to thank everyone for their generosity and will get thank you notes off to you as soon as possible.

Kimmie has been very busy writing grants over the past 2 weeks so she can hire a director for the youth center and  some money to provide for transitional housing which is sorely needed for families leaving the shelter and for the homeless women who are occasionally housed at the shelter for their own safety.  Kimmie thinks she’ll receive the grant for a youth Director, the kids need supervision and direction to keep them on track with homework, computer skills, reading, etc. and with all her other duties she’s can’t be there all the time.  They do get volunteers to help out for a while but after a month or so they quit coming so a full time director is needed.  The center was recently closed for a few days  for a thorough cleaning and to update the propane tank.  Hours for the center are 4-10 p.m. weekdays and noon to 10 p.m. on weekends, kids are always there and for some it’s their home away from home.   SFK member, Laurie Allen, is a librarian and has been stashing away books and activities for the youth center and plans to personally deliver her goodies some time this summer.  Laurie helped set up a library at the Allen Youth Center as well.  Thank you Laurie!!

Finishing work on the two shelter rooms over the garage was delayed for a while due to the cold weather but they took advantage of a couple of mild days and got the flooring in and the new heating system set up.  Kimmie is still deciding how to set up the new rooms, most likely there will be 2 bunk bed sets in one room and a queen bed, crib and set of bunk beds in the other.  Once a final decision is made we may be asked to decorate at least one of the rooms.  Kimmie likes to make the shelter look and feel homey, not institutional like some of the ones she has visited.  She is concerned now with a new president in Washington they may lose funding as this administration doesn’t seem very welcoming or concerned about Native Americans.  If that should happen the shelter will have to close as the large grant she received for running the shelter came from the Federal government.  It is a frightening thought and Kimmie hopes it doesn’t come to pass as the shelter is so badly needed on the reservation.

Kimmie recently met with the Bright Start group to discuss needs for babies and mothers. Bright Start consists of 3 nurse midwives who make home visits to women across the Reservation starting in the sixth month of their pregnancy and concluding when their child reaches age 2.  During their visits they give well baby check ups, administer vaccinations, and identify any special needs babies early and get them extra care if needed.  These nurses are especially needed in the homes of young, first time mothers for support and education.    They can always use clothing, blankets, diaper bags/totes and anything else a baby needs and toddler clothing, toys, etc. to give to other siblings.  If you would like to donate baby or toddler items for Bright Start please send to Kimmie here. Since you’ve all been so generous to the shelter in the past, Kimmie has been able to share a lot of your donations with them.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all the new members that have joined us in the past few weeks.  We’re so glad to have you, join in the lively conversations on our Sew For Kids Volunteers Facebook page or if you like something more subdued try our Yahoo group page.  Many thanks to those of you sending donations to the new fund we set up at Lakota Friends Circle.  For newbies or those that want a refresher about the fund please read this blog.  You can find our project list for the year here.  Find a project that interests you and/or matches your skill level, if the current project isn’t something you like, feel free to work ahead on something you do.  March is right around the corner and we’ll soon be working on clothing projects for the kids’ summer vacation.

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids.

Financial Report from Lakota Friends Circle for 2016

As you might recall, Sew for Kids decided this past Fall to be under the umbrella of Lakota Friends Circle so that we could offer you a charitable donation. We as an organization felt that the $3000 spent to form a 501 c(3) when we had one willing to host us under their umbrella, was better spent on helping the people on the Reservation. And because we were already doing similar projects and were helping many of the same people, we decided to join forces . Sew For Kids is still their own organization . We like to craft items we make for the reservation kids, although there are certainly needs that we can not craft. Other folks join us as they want to help with those other needs.

Anne Fields, President of Lakota Friends Circle, sent me this report and am sharing it with you. Take a look to see what was accomplished this past year. The Sew For Kids team thanks all of you as well for your contributions to the kids who benefited from your generosity and skills.  Next week  Janet and I will be putting up a new blog. I do charity projects in my own community and needed to help with some fundraising projects here in January .

Anne Field’s note.

“Thanks to all friends of Lakota Friends Circle and Sew For Kids for a great 2016.  I’ve compiled the financial report and attached it so that you can all see how the cash donations were spent.  Even though we are still small I do think that we achieved a lot last year.

 In addition, thanks to the many people who sent in-kind donations to Jerome High Horse, The Sacred Shawl Society Shelter, The My Space Youth Center, the 5th grade class at Wolf Creek School, the Marty School, and several families and individuals with specific needs.  Sorry if I forgot anyone.
Thank you, thank you, and here’s to a truly productive 2017!

Lakota Friends Circle Financial Report for 2016

Lakota Friends Circle Expenditures for 2016


Program Expenses

Administrative Expenses

Total Expenses

Gas for food, wood, supplies pick-up/distribution


Food/supplies for Wanblee community events


Crock pots and roasters for Wanblee community


Gas for families


Food for families


Utilities for families






Funeral assistance




Stove for My Space Youth Center


Car repairs


Wolf Creek 5th grade field trip


Wolf Creek 5th grade supplies


Project Manager’s cell phone – monthly charges


Shipping – Women’s Shelter, Wolf Creek School




Printer ink




Fees and SD license


Fundraising book






Lakota Friends Circle Assets 2016





Total Assets











Lakota Friends Circle Income, Expenditures, and Assets 2016




2015 Assets

Balance + 2015 Assets

2016 Assets







Income: More than $7,800 was donated to Lakota Friends Circle by 35 individuals/families and by the Wal-Mart Foundation which contributed $1,500 towards community food programs. A generous donation of $645 was made by members of the Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ Philanthropic Committee towards the planned purchase of a freezer for a food bank to be located in the upcoming Community Center in Wanblee.


Gas: Nine trips for woodcutting and delivery; 14 gas purchases for Running Strong pick-up and delivery of food, clothing, and school supplies; 13 purchases for other food pick-up and delivery; a trip to Omaha, NE to pick-up a donated trailer; two families’ medical appointments; two families’ food pick-up trips; one fill-up for the Rescue truck.

Food: Food was provided for Wanblee community events at Easter, July 4th, Halloween, and Christmas, and for an elders’ breakfast and a fire department meeting. Food was also purchased for two homeless families and for a mother with eight children.

Crock Pots: Two crock pots, two large roasters, and two surge protectors were bought for the Wanblee Community

Utilities: one electric bill and one phone bill were paid.

Clothing: warm clothing, shoes, socks, and underwear were purchased on clearance for the Sacred Shawl Society shelter and for distribution in Wanblee.

Diapers: 250 diapers were purchased for distribution in Wanblee using a special program.

Funerals: $50 was donated to each of two families for help with funeral expenses.

Tools: A four-piece power tool kit was bought for Jerome High Horse and three power tools for a volunteer working on home renovations.

Stove: A new electric stove was purchased for the My Space Youth Center in Martin.

Car repairs: Three families were helped with car repairs.

Wolf Creek School: LFC sponsored a 5th grade class field trip to the Journey Museum in Rapid City. The students wrote essays about the trip.

LFC also sponsored a writing contest for the class on the topic “What I Can Do for My Community” and awarded cash prizes totaling $50 to four students.

A number of books were bought for the 5th grade class after the school library was closed.

Beading supplies were purchased for an after-school Lakota crafts class.

Through donations to Lakota Friends Circle we have been able to assist hundreds of Lakota people through both group projects and individual family needs. Many thanks to all who have contributed.

Anne Fields

President, Lakota Friends Circle


Anne in GA
President, Lakota Friends Circle”

New Sew For Kids Fund

Shipping rates are rising again for 2017 and since we’re always trying to keep costs as low as possible for you, we thought a monthly  donation program would be the best value for those on tight budgets, occasional donors or anyone wanting to help our areas with food and other monthly needs. Small monthly donations of $5 or more can really add up and together we can help provide funds so our program directors can purchase food at their local food pantries and grocery stores or we can buy goods in bulk online and save shipping costs. Donate when you have a little extra to share, there is no minimum or requirement to fill, this is just another way to help. All donations are tax deductible and can be made to Lakota Friends Circle via Paypal, credit card  or mail. You can give recurring monthly donations if you wish to do so.  Please note that your donation is for the Sew For Kids fund when you send money . We will still continue with our monthly projects and of course you may send any of the needs listed below if you prefer not to contribute to the fund or if you decide to do both. Sew For Kids is under the umbrella of Lakota Friend’s Circle so we did not have to set up our own 501c ( 3) another cost that would take away from the items needed on the Rez for the kids.

Some of the things the fund could provide for:

  • Pantry Needs – milk, eggs, bread, cheese, crackers, peanut butter…… canned goods including soup, pasta meals, fruits and vegetables…..canned meats such as chicken, tuna, ham, spam, etc.
  • Baby Formula – Enfamil, Similac, etc. for infants and older.  Most babies can drink dairy at 12 months.
  • Diapers – Disposables in sizes 1-6.
  • Toiletries – Shampoo, deodorant, sanitary pads and tampons, body wash, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, combs and brushes.
  • School Supplies – Notebooks, colored pencils, crayons, markers,  erasers, pens, pencils, whiteboard markers, paper plain and lined, scissors, glue.
  • Craft Supplies – Construction paper, drawing paper, acrylic paints, art brushes, modeling clay, etc.  Fabric for star quilts, leather and beading supplies for traditional crafts.
  • Sports and Entertainment – Board and card games, puzzles, activity books, coloring books and sporting goods such as baseballs, baseball mitts, basketballs, soccer balls, Frisbees, outdoor games, etc.  The youth center in Martin needs help building their library so donations of books on any subject for any age are welcome.  Check media mail rates at the PO for a good rate.
  • Special Requests – Such as a crib for a shelter room, stroller, coffee maker, toaster, etc.

Food insecurity is a reality for most children on the Rez.  They rely on the two meals a day received at school which may be all they get to eat that day and if it happens to be a Friday and the cupboard is bare at home, they could go most of the weekend without food, that’s 60 hours or more of going hungry!  Children are also at risk when school breaks for the holidays and especially the long summer vacation.  If families are receiving food stamps they usually cover 3 weeks out of the month and even less if kids are not in school.  Good nutrition is vital if children are to grow up healthy, both physically and mentally, so they can get off to a good start in life.

Food is also a big expense for organizations serving the public on the Rez.  Kids coming to the Martin youth center after school are given a snack to make sure they get something to eat in case there’s no evening meal at home.  The High Horses in Wanblee often receive calls from women with hungry children in their district desperate for food or kids who are hungry knock on their door after school or on a weekend.  The Marty School needs food to send home in backpacks for students at the highest risk of going hungry in the evening and on weekends.  Having nutritious snacks available in classrooms is desirable as growing kids are always in need of extra calories, more so for kids with food insecurity.  Donations to the fund could help build pantries at these sites and would bring us all the comfort of knowing children were not going hungry.

Diapers and formula are two requests usually coming toward the end of the month in Wanblee and Martin.  Many new mothers are young and inexperienced and are already under stress, a crying baby that can’t be consoled due to being hungry or wearing a soiled diaper is at an increased risk of being abused or neglected.  Having diapers and formula on hand to give out to mothers could prevent this from happening.  A can of powdered formula on the Rez is $32 and can be purchased with food stamps or given through the WIC program, but regardless of the source it doesn’t last the entire month.  This is the time babies are most likely to receive watered down formula or Kool-Aid in their bottles.  The fund would allow us to purchase formula at a volume discount and get free shipping.

Some of our members are making cloth diapers for the shelter so they have something on hand if they run out of disposables and to give to clients requesting them when they leave the facility.   If you would like to make diapers for the shelter they don’t need to be fancy, just a flat, foldable diaper that dries quickly, and please include diaper pins and a diaper cover or plastic pants.  If you want to send disposables, Wanblee needs sizes 3-6 only as they receive smaller sizes from other sources and all sizes are needed at the shelter.  The shelter operates on a very tight budget but will buy diapers for those that need them if they can, often the shelter staff will take out of their own pockets despite only making $10 an hour.

School supplies are needed at the shelter for kids starting a new school and at the youth center which has a tutoring program after school.   The school at Marty needs them as well for the Feather Store so students can “purchase” their supplies.  Toiletries are needed at all three areas and are always near the top of the list of needs.  Toiletries allow people to clean up and smell good and gives them a sense of dignity.  Lets face it, we all feel better about ourselves when we’re clean and look nice.

Games and other fun activities give kids constructive things to do with their time, keeps them off the street and from potentially getting into trouble. Exercise helps kids stay fit and healthy, is a good outlet for working off energy and anger and lowers their inherent risk of diabetes.  Kids learn the concept of winning and losing when playing games encouraging them to work harder to improve their skills.  Crafting allows children’s individuality to shine through while puzzles and games challenge their minds and get kids working together on problem solving while having fun.  The youth center does have computers and printers so the students could use printer paper for their school projects.  The Marty school needs general crafting supplies for certain classroom projects and to keep the kids occupied if recess is cancelled due to inclement weather.

We’re hopeful some of you like the new program and will help us build the Sew For Kids fund.  As previously stated you can certainly continue sending as before but we feel building a fund saves you money and allows bulk purchasing and buying perishables at local stores.  We don’t like to keep bugging our group about these needs constantly and having a fund we could responsibly draw on would allow us to fill the need when we get the call.

We’re so grateful for the generous help you’ve given the kids over the years. Whichever way you decide to help will make a difference in their lives and we thank you!

Projects For 2017


This is the monthly list of items that can be made or bought this year. These items can be sent year long  as most of the areas have storage and soon all will. We know that some of you have favorite items you like to make while others like to try out a new skill  or pattern so make the project of the month. With many helping, we usually get enough items sent for the project. We try to make the projects correspond to the season as well events taking place in the community such as the start of school or the Christmas party. We will let you know which areas are most in need of the items each month in our blogs.

Here  is the list of places to ship to. When you open that page you will see that there are tax forms you can download and fill out to receive a charitable donation. Include that form in your box with a SASE and ask the recipient to sign and mail back to you. If you want a thank you note back , also enclose a SASE to help with the mailing costs that take away from the project needs. Or add your email address  in a note to the recipient and they can also respond that way. If you order on line to send an item to an area, send as a GIFT and enclose your name/address on the gift card form as often the receivers do not know who sent the item. Save those receipts if you want a charitable tax donation.Thank you for your help with these issues. Also we suggest tracking items sent. UPS/Fedex and the USPS and most companies allow you to track your packages at no charge. Shipping larger quantities at one time in many instances is cheaper per pound thru Fedex/UPS and using the boxes at the PO with weight limits will save you money. If sending books, send media mail.

Because the cost of shipping is going up once again in mid January,  we are thinking about your pocket book and have decided to set up a monetary fund thru Lakota Friends Circle so when we get requests for items that can not be made, like formula, diapers, food for hungry families, or an emergency need, we would have some funding to buy in bulk thru some companies at a savings and also save on shipping costs  as once a certain dollar amount is reached, shipping is free. Also some of these items can be bought locally , such as toiletries or food bought at 18 cents per  pound at the food bank where 2 of the places we help shop for their program needs. Since some of you seem willing to give $5 or $10 a month regularly, or at times you are not sending a box, this fund would help that need. We feel it is worth a try and saves us from having to ask you for certain needs all the time. Some of you want to help the kids and do not craft and this is another way to help get needed items to the areas. No amount is too little. With many helping we will hopefully have some funds available to help that immediate need.  All monetary donations would be tax deductible as Lakota Friends Circle is a 501c 3 non profit.  We will highlight our list of items that need purchasing and information on to how to participate in the next blog.

Also to save you money, buy items on sale, shop at thrift or garage sales for items in GOOD condition. Review the donation guidelines here. Underwear and socks are the only items that need to be sent new. ( baby socks an exception) . Using up those stashes of material and yarn , will save you money. Letting people know that you craft for charity and asking for free donations that others will never use is another way to save you money. Having the list now allows you to buy needed items on sale .

January/February  Pants, Underwear and Socks


  1. Warm pants such as sweatpants or other with elastic waist in sizes 4T through 16/18 for boys and girls.  The domestic abuse shelter requested sweatpants as they can also be worn as pajamas, but if you have baby sizes or different styles such as jeans they can be sent too.  For those of you sewing pants good fabrics to use are sweatshirt fleece, polar fleece, corduroy, heavier knits and flannel. Jeans etc are welcome as well.
  2. New Underwear in sizes 3T through 16/18. Can use training pants too. – all areas need underwear
  3. Socks in toddler sizes through adult, some older children wear adult shoes – all areas need socks.
  4. Cloth Diapers and waterproof covering.  Good project for home sewers.

Women at the shelter

  1. Warm pants S-XL sweatpants or athletic type with elastic waist.  If you have jeans or warm tops they would be welcomed too.
  2. New Underwear in sizes 6-10 and sports bras S-Xl.  Bras can be gently used, sports type fit more women but traditional styles can be sent too.   
  3. Socks    

  Needs for families leaving the shelter

  1. Cutlery, cooking utensils such as spatulas, large spoons, can opener, etc.
  2. Dishes, cups, drinking glasses, non-breakable is best for kids.
  3. Pots and pans
  4. Sheets and blankets/quilts/afghans
  5. Towels, wash cloths, dish cloths and dish towels.
  6. pillows/pillowcases

When families leave the shelter they are given a pillow/pillowcase, toiletry bag, 2 sets of clothing per member and a blanket if they do not have them.  The above items help set up a new household for those not returning to their previous home. The shelter recently received a large quantity of baby clothing that will last for a while and another group is doing a baby drive so although we don’t have an “official” baby month you can include any baby items you may have any time you’re sending a box to the shelter.

 March/April   Summer Clothing


Shorts, capris, lightweight pants, leggings, shirts, dresses and skirts in sizes 4T to 16/18.  Baby sizes can also be sent.  Wanblee has a pool kids can use at the school so swimsuits are also needed.  Since no one can afford sunscreen, sun hats are needed too.

  1. Shoes – sandals, flip-flops, canvas type or other summer shoes.  New or gently used.

Women at the shelter

  1. Shorts, capris, pants and shirts in sizes 8/10 through 16/18, plus sizes also needed.
  2. Sandals, flip flops and other summer type shoes, larger sizes 9-11 needed too.

May/June  Bags and Bedding

  1. Bags – Totes, Backpacks/school bags, pencil cases, toiletry bags, duffels, diaper bags, messenger bags and purses.  Make totes ahead to be filled later with school supplies, Christmas gifts, toiletries, etc.   
  2. Blankets/afghans/quilts/receiving blankets – all sizes baby through full size.
  3. Sheets – crib through queen size.
  4. Pillowcases/pillows

July/August   School Needs

School supplies – paper, pens, pencils, markers, crayons, etc.

  1. School Clothing – Pants, shirts, skirts, light jackets or hoodies, etc. 4T through 16/18.
  2. Socks, Underwear, Pajamas –  Underwear must be new
  3. Shoes – Sturdier shoes are best as most don’t have winter boots.  All sizes.   

September/October  Warm Winter Gear

  1. Winter coats, hoodies, fleece pullovers, sweaters, ponchos for sizes infant through adult.
  2. Gloves, mittens, scarves, cowls, hats.  Get out your crochet hooks and knitting needles, sew them in fleece  or buy ready made.

November/December  Christmas

November to be used for getting gifts ready to be shipped after Thanksgiving and before parties begin in December.  Will publish a Christmas list in late summer/early fall.  Many of you work on items for this event all year long .

The monthly projects won’t change however, we may have additional requests from the areas we serve as we learn of their needs.  

We invite you to join us on our Yahoo group, Sew For Lakota Kids, and/or our Facebook group, Sew For Kids Volunteers. You will meet many talented and interesting people on the sites. The facebook group is a very active group so if you want to share patterns, sewing tips, hear about sales etc , we suggest  that you join that group. We welcome other charities and church groups to work with as well. While we started out as a sewing group, many of our wonderful members, knit and crochet so feel free to join us as there are months when those talents are very  much needed. We work together often with the Ravelry group ” For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation” and the Halfknits  and will be doing more projects together with them this year.

Thank you all for your continuing support of the kids and their families on the Rez.

The Wanblee Christmas Party

Sorry we’re so late reporting on the Christmas party held December 10, pictures were received a couple of days after, but it’s been extremely difficult to catch up with Jerome for all the details.  He had many deliveries to make around the community from items  received from the monthly NAHA truck and Running Strong’s donation of coats, blankets and turkey/food boxes, plus he had 4 family members in the hospital at the same time so made several trips to Rapid City to check on them.  While there Jerome attended a meeting for Veteran’s rights, and although there’s always hope, he isn’t expecting anything to change for Native American veterans in the area.   In addition to everything else going on Jerome tried to spend at least 4 hours a day working on the community center and cut firewood if there was any time left in the day.  All the wood they had stockpiled since last summer had all been given out before the first of December.

Each year the tribe receives money from LIHEAP to help families with heating bills.  Funds this year only covered half the households on the Rez, the ones they did help received $150 towards propane, firewood or utility bills.  It’s still uncertain if there will be more funds available in 2017.   Jerome has been working with Troy Dukes, Director of Hearts of the Sacred Spirit, to get some propane deliveries to needy people in Wanblee and the surrounding communities.  Please visit their website, read about their heating project and consider making a small donation if you can.   If they have the funding each household is eligible for $150 in assistance each year.  All the warm coats, clothing and blankets you sent can mean the world to someone living in an unheated or poorly heated home.  Jerome also had calls from people that were out of food and money, one family had 8 children.  Luckily  Lakota Friends Circle had received some donations and along with money from Jerome’s pocket, they were able to get food to this family and others.

In November Jerome and Theresa and their friends, Mary and Bob Epps from Families Working Together, went to the University and made a presentation about the work they do in the Wanblee community and spoke of some of their needs.  They were grateful indeed when the University purchased a $1500 trailer for them that Jerome will use to make deliveries and they also donated a used dryer, furniture, and blankets and pillows for needy families.   More good news, Jerome has been asked by the tribe to help get a USDA grant project started on the Rez.  They would initially receive $150,000 to build greenhouses in some of the districts and start growing food crops to help feed local communities and also sell any surplus to outside markets.   A volunteer from Nebraska has offered to help with the agriculture program should they receive the grant.

Jerome had visitors/volunteers from Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota that arrived just before the party.  Folks from Nebraska brought 200 hats, scarves and mittens for teens which was a nice surprise as they’re often the group that gets forgotten during the holidays.  Also visiting were the elves from Minnesota who came laden with gifts and ready to help Santa distribute all the toys.  Families Working Together arrived from De Forest, Wisconsin and brought 400 gifts their community had donated.   Sew For Kids teamed up with the Ravelry group “For The Children of Pine Ridge Reservation”  and donated an additional 600-800 gifts.

Although December 10 was a cold day with nighttime temps dipping to 4 degrees, about 400 kids and their families still came and lined up along the street to watch the Parade of Lights and eagerly wait for Santa’s float to come by.  They weren’t disappointed as there was a gift for everyone and home deliveries were made to those not able to attend due to health, lack of transportation or other reasons.   Hot chocolate, cider and cookies were served to those braving the elements.  Lakota Friends Circle provided funding for the candy and fruit bags for the kids,  made possible from money donated mostly by members of Sew For Kids and Pine Ridge Elders.  Unfortunately the community center wasn’t finished in time to have the party indoors, things move slowly on the Rez and they still need funding to complete the project.  Enjoy the pictures of the parade and gift giving below.
Everyone was so generous this year that Santa and his elves were able to share the wealth with 4 other communities in the area giving all those children a gift they certainly weren’t expecting.  We will be discussing helping other areas in addition to Wanblee for Christmas in 2017 since they have so much help from other groups.  The Wanblee fire department held a community bon fire December 17 where they served hot apple cider, hot dogs and s’mores.  FWT provided the food and brought a few gifts left from the party to give out.
Jerome and Theresa High Horse want to wish you all Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year.  They extend their sincere thanks and gratitude for all the things you’ve done through the year to help their community.  They have many thank you notes to write so please be patient.  For those that didn’t include a SASE or an email address LFC has donated stamps to help.  If you included an email in your box Jerome will try to let you know your package arrived but it’s always best to track your packages online as Jerome and Theresa do the work of 20 people and do make mistakes.  Charitable donation forms can be found here, please send to Wanblee or other donation area along with a SASE.
Enjoy the pictures below of just some of the wonderful items SFK and the Ravelry group made for the Christmas party,  you certainly went above and beyond!  We are continually amazed and so thankful for the generosity you show the kids and their families!  Join us in 2017 for a year of friendship and fun!

Martin Community News

Cold winter weather is making its way across the country and is now in Pine Ridge and other areas of South Dakota we help.  Shelter Director, Kimmie Clausen, knows firsthand how bad the weather can get as she found herself stranded in Rapid City while shopping for kids in the Martin community she knew wouldn’t be getting anything for Christmas.  It’s hard for kids to believe in Santa or feel the magic of the season when they never receive a gift, some may even blame themselves for not being “good” enough.  There are about 800 Native Americans in Martin and Kimmie knows which families are most in need and has been able to help them throughout the year mostly because of your’s and the Ravelry group ” For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation’s ” generous donations.

She said students are now on their winter break and they’ll be holding a Christmas party at the shelter for residents and another at the youth center for the 75 kids that use the facility.   Kimmie has been holding things back from your boxes for gifts for the parties and although some may only get a pair of socks or some hotel toiletries, they will receive something.  She found 4 volunteers in the community to wrap presents and help with the party at the center.  They had plenty of Christmas ornaments at the center but no tree until Kimmie found one at the Boys and Girls Club on Pine Ridge for $12 which was a win-win as the center now has a tree and the money helps fund the club.  Kids will be using the center a lot over their break especially for food as they won’t be receiving their 2 meals a day at school and food at home is always scarce toward the end of the month.  The youth center is in the midst of the housing project in Martin and although anyone can use it, most of the kids are Native Americans.

Kimmie hopes that with a small grant she can pay current volunteers at the center $100 a week, which isn’t a lot but would help support their families.  The tribe has started a program that pays a small stipend for high school juniors and seniors and college students for helping in the community including the youth center.  Kimmie already has some art projects in mind and is working with the University of South Dakota to get a garden program up and running this spring.

The Sacred Shawl Society’s shelter is full to capacity.  For many the holiday season isn’t a happy time, some parents can’t afford gifts for their kids because of the higher heating and food bills of winter and if there are issues with drugs or alcohol their stress often turns violent.  The shelter serves all of Pine Ridge but will help anyone in an abusive situation.  Kimmie says after women receive counseling and heal from their traumas they’re ready to leave and move on but their children are sad and often cry because they don’t want to leave a place that has given them security and their Auntie Kim who’s always there to give them a hug and tell them how special they are.   They’ve recently finished the 2 rooms over the garage, each is furnished with 2 sets of bunk beds, a crib and a chair and will be used for single women or both rooms together can be used for larger families.  Electric heating will soon be installed thanks to a generous donation of $3000.  The downstairs bedrooms in the main part of the shelter don’t have heat so residents have to keep their doors open at night or they can sleep on the hide-a-beds in the main living area.  Your warm quilts and blankets are being put to good use and keep the clients snuggly and warm.  Blankets and pillows are left around the shelter for people to cuddle up in or for the kids to lie on the floor and watch a movie during quiet time. The shelter will host a Christmas party and dinner for current and past residents of the year and gifts will be given out which were saved from donations Sew For Kid’s volunteers have made throughout the year.

The Sacred Shawl Society recently hosted several, well attended, “Four Directions” walks in various communities around the Rez in honor and remembrance of women who have gone missing or have been murdered due to sex trafficking.   They also sponsored a workshop, attended by 50 girls from around the Rez, that educated them about sex trafficking, having respect for their bodies, living a healthy lifestyle and having healthy relationships.  A Public Health nurse was on hand to give the girls information about pregnancy and birth control.  The girls had a good time, listening to music and enjoying snacks as they got to know each other and for a special treat everyone received a souvenir T-shirt and makeup bag filled with lipstick, nail polish, mascara, etc. Volunteers showed the girls how to properly apply their new makeup.  Money may be tight but Rez teens are no different than teens elsewhere, they’re always concerned about their looks and experience peer pressure.

Most of your donated hats, mittens, scarves and warm coats have been given to those in need at the shelter, but since you all were so generous, Kimmie had enough to share with kids at the youth center and the local school.   In fact she was recently driving past Martin Elementary on a particularly cold day and saw kids outside playing without hats or mittens.  She shortly returned to the school with some of your warm donated items which they were thrilled to receive.

When asked for a list of needs Kimmie says the biggest one at the moment is underwear and socks.  For women:  bras, regular and sports type, in S-XL and underwear in sizes 5-10 and socks. Underwear has to be new but gently used bras are welcomed.  Socks and underwear for kids in sizes 4T to 10/12  which is the most common sizes for kids using the shelter.  You can send larger sizes if you have them but the smaller sizes are needed in larger quantities. Disposable diapers are always a need at the shelter in sizes 1-6.   A special thanks to Laurie Allen who is sending a large bag of diapers sizes 2 and 4 to the shelter each month. They do receive some diapers from Christian Relief but they are small quantities in a limited size range. Kimmie also assists women from the community who are in need of diapers. Kimmie would love to have more cloth diapers and plastic pants on hand so they can conserve their supply of disposables at the shelter and also to send home with women when they leave the shelter. Many have told Kimmie that having cloth diapers relieves some of the stress they feel when disposables and the funds to buy them run out at the end of the month. Lack of diapers has been shown to contribute to child abuse as babies that are uncomfortable may cry for long periods of time and parents already living under severe stress may  snap and abuse their babies.

BPA free plastic baby bottles and canned, powdered formula are also needed for those that aren’t breastfeeding at the shelter.  Sadly some parents in the community will give their babies Kool-Aid if they run out of formula as they don’t have the money to buy more which can run $32 a can at local stores.  Women from the community in need are only given half a can of formula and 12 diapers at a time but they can return if needed.  The last need is for warm sweat/athletic type pants for women, S-XL and  children in all sizes but especially 4T to 10/12.   Making pants is one of our projects on next year’s agenda but they have a need for them now and with post holiday sales coming up some of you may want to go shopping.   Thanks to the generosity of all of you and of Cyrilla Haverkamp’s local community pregnancy center’s donations, they now have enough clothing for infants through 3T for the moment. Thank you all for helping the babies and toddlers!  Kimmie has asked staff at the shelter to keep her better informed about items that may be getting low so we can make sure she has what she needs to help the women and children she serves.

Kimmie wants to extend a special thanks to all SFK volunteers and to everyone from the Ravelry group “For The Children of Pine Ridge Reservation”.  She is forever grateful to all of you for helping her help the women and children at the shelter.  The funding she receives only covers the bare necessities and without you there wouldn’t be toys for the kids, blankets, extra clothing, toiletries, and all the other things you send that makes life so much easier for families coming from abusive situations.  Kimmie found her camera and is hoping to post photos of the party to the Sacred Shawl site so be watching for those.  She has also received a small grant to make a short film about the shelter and the youth centers so take a look at how you can help them.

And finally we are so grateful and appreciate each volunteer that has given so generously of their time, talent and treasure to the shelter, youth center and the Martin community this past year.  We never tire of saying…..We Have The Best Volunteers!!!  We wish you all a safe and Happy Holiday Season !