2017 In Review

Happy New Year to all!  We apologize for being late with the blog but everyone’s been so busy with their families (including us) over the holidays and besides, we all needed to take a well deserved break.  For first time visitors to our blog, we’re a group of dedicated volunteers  trying to make a difference in the lives of Lakota children and their families in South Dakota.  We help support the Sacred Shawl Society’s domestic abuse shelter and My Space Youth Center both located in Martin,  the community of Wanblee and surrounding areas, all located on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and Marty Indian School in Marty, SD which is on the Yankton Sioux Reservation.  We’re in direct contact with our Lakota friends and they constantly tell us what a help our group has been to them individually and to their programs.  We couldn’t possibly accomplish all that we have without the dedication and hard work of our members at SFK and the fantastic groups we partner with.

  •  “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation” , a Ravelry group with many generous and talented members that knit, crochet, sew and donate goods and funds to purchase diapers, formula, food and many other ongoing needs.
  • “Halfknits” is a volunteer knit and crochet group from the Dallas/Fort Worth area that has donated countless blankets, shawls and other warm items to Pine Ridge.  They are our “go to” source for blankets and can always be counted on to fill urgent needs when winter arrives.
  •   “Pine Ridge Elders”, is a small but very generous and talented Yahoo group that is one of the first in line to help with emergencies including opening their wallets to help a family buy food, shoes or other urgent needs.  They also wield a mean crochet hook and are accomplished at other crafts as well.

These groups have many volunteers that sew, knit, and crochet but there are many, including in our SFK group, that may not have crafting skills or extra time so they choose to help by purchasing goods (many volunteers do both!) that can’t be made such as linens, school supplies, shoes, coats, toiletries, etc. either on their own or by donating to our Sew For Kids Fund so we can purchase in bulk online or buy locally on the Rez.  We are so grateful for all our monthly donors but would love to have more join with us.  A monthly donation of $5 or $10 doesn’t seem like a lot but when multiplied by the number of members in our group it means we can purchase more local food, more sanitary needs for teens and women, more incontinence needs for elders, more diapers and formula for babies, provide more gas money to deliver wood in the outlying areas and send more kids to the pool next summer.  Sew For Kids is a program under the umbrella of Lakota Friends Circle so all donations are tax deductible.  We work together with them on many projects and Carol has recently become a board member.  Please help if you can.

Although we get a lot of help from other groups we still can’t begin to provide all the needs for the areas we help.  Kimmie Clausen,  Director of Sacred Shawl Shelter and My Space Youth Center in Martin, applies for grants which barely pays the bills to keep the doors open and employees paid.  That means there’s no money in the budget for clothing, toiletries, shoes, etc. for clients at the shelter or money to purchase food for after school snacks and weekend meals at the Youth Center.  SFK and partner groups help provide whatever their meager budgets can’t.  Marty Indian School has a budget to run the school but due to constant budget cuts and rising prices their money may not last the entire year.  The Wanblee area has volunteer groups from Colorado, Nebraska and Minnesota that come to do home repairs, build bunk beds, work on the new community center sponsored by Families Working Together, or repairing other buildings in the area as they did last year for the Elder Center.  Volunteers from these groups also help with the annual  Christmas party and Parade of Lights and always bring lots of gifts and donations with them.   Youthworks volunteers make their appearance every summer to help paint homes, mow lawns, cut brush, build outhouses and help with many other projects in the community.  There are many local volunteers that work alongside these groups to help better their communities, something we encourage and support.   When each of us brings our talents and treasure to the table and work as a team we can make things happen!  To all of you we say THANK YOU!

 Accomplishments in 2017 

  1. Provided school clothing, shoes and summer clothing. Our ladies continue to sew beautiful dresses for the girls, which they absolutely love and can’t wait to get each spring.
  2. Provided bedding including blankets, pillows and pillowcases and sheets.  Pillows along with colorful pillowcases are always popular and kids continue to ask for them. Blankets were made by many volunteers from several groups, always one of our top requests.  A veterans group made new bunk beds for kids in Wanblee that had been sleeping on a cold floor covered only in a jacket.  We’re so happy we could provide bedding for their new beds.
  3. Provided school supplies so kids could be ready to learn – paper, pens and pencils, pencil cases, backpacks, crayons, glue, etc.
  4. Laurie A, SFK member, started a library at the My Space Youth Center in Martin.  Many books were donated to be used in the new library, the women’s shelter, the Bright Start program that operates across the Rez, and local school libraries.  They were also used at Marty Indian School to build up classroom libraries, as gifts for literary night, and the Feather Store where kids can shop with feathers they earn for good behavior, participation and exhibiting Lakota values.  The Ravelry group has been making blankets and sending books for the younger children to the Sacred Shawl Society, thank you ladies, the kids love them!
  5. Made bags for Bright Start nurses to fill with baby items volunteers sent in which are then given to new mothers on the Rez during home visits.
  6. Made bags for women and children leaving the shelter to hold the clothing, toiletries and personal items they received during their stay.  They’re so much nicer to hold their belongings than a plastic bag and much better for their self esteem too.  For those lucky enough to find a new home to go to, household items are given out to help them start their new life.
  7. Made bags for rape victims the shelter fills with clothing, underwear, shoes, etc. donated by our groups.  Women have to leave their clothing at the clinic for evidence.
  8. Established the Sew For Kids fund which was used this year to purchase diapers and formula for the shelter and other babies in the community; food for the youth center so they could give after school snacks and small meals to kids that may not have supper at home.  Without our help many of these kids wouldn’t have another meal until breakfast at school the next day.  Weekend food bags are needed in many areas for kids at risk. .
  9. Provided snacks for kids at Marty Indian School.  Programs were eliminated that had provided snacks and food for the weekends  when children are likely to miss a few meals
  10. Provided incontinence aids for elders, sanitary items for teens and women  diapers and baby formula for the Wanblee area. We’ll purchase more diapers etc for Wanblee if there are more donations to the fund.
  11. Provided sewing machines for the shelter and youth center in Martin and lots of fabric and sewing supplies.  Girls preparing for their coming of age ceremony make special dresses under the direction of elders.  Women in the shelter may sew to alleviate stress and it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
  12. Four sewing machines were donated to Marty Indian School along with lots of fabric, ironing boards, irons, sewing lamps, ribbon, rotary cutting supplies, and lots of notions to start a sewing program at the school.  Paulita Drapeau has taught classes of both boys and girls to make traditional ribbon skirts and it’s been an outstanding success!  They couldn’t wait to get to class and start sewing, some of the boys made skirts for their mothers and sisters.
  13. Some members of SFK and partner groups joined together to help a teacher on Pine Ridge after she was evicted from her home unexpectedly through no fault of her own.  Her new home needed many repairs to be livable including a new toilet, shower and plumbing so they could have water.  The family needed blankets, clothing, coats, housewares, and many other things they had to leave behind as they weren’t allowed back in to get their belongings.  Usually this group of ladies helps this teacher with supplies for her grade 5 class but this year they helped make her home livable and clothe her family of 10.  We can’t imagine the strain she was under and how hopeless she must’ve felt at the time.  Thank you ladies for your compassion and generosity!!
  14. Partnering groups provided items for the elder center in Wanblee including roasters, crock pots, utensils, kitchen linens, plates, blankets, cleaning supplies and a new cook stove!  SFK member, Laurie A, stopped by the elder center on her whirlwind visit to the Rez last summer and dropped off chairs and tables they desperately needed.  Thanks again Laurie!
  15. Made bags for girls at Marty Indian school and filled them with sanitary items and provided extra supplies to the school to refill when needed.  Girls stay home from school when they don’t have access to the proper supplies, learn more here.
  16. Collected money from partner groups to help with expenses for the funeral breakfast and lunch for Jerome and Theresa High Horse’s family and friends.  Tragically this past summer they lost 5 young members of their family in a terrible car accident 2 miles from Wanblee.
  17. Provided food and goodie bags for the Easter and Christmas parties in Wanblee so kids could have some healthy options.
  18. Sent Christmas gifts for the Feather Christmas store at Marty Indian school where kids shopped for just the right gift for their family members.
  19. One of our biggest projects for Christmas is the Doll Project started 3 years ago by SFK member Penny N.  She continues to manage the program and we all have a blast looking at each other’s pictures and oohing and aahing over all the cuteness!  This year volunteers sent a total of 138 dolls, bears and softies.  There were dolls of every kind including American Girl type 18 inch, cabbage patch, Barbie, baby dolls, and there were bears  dressed in their finest attire and stuffies of every kind.  Great job ladies!
  20. Classroom room parents from SFK sent school supplies, books, snacks, toiletries, and lots of Christmas gifts for the kids in their classes at Marty Indian school.  They will continue to support their respective classes through the end of the school year.   A very special thanks to all the room parents this year, Lori K, Elaine E, Carol B, Lanetta S, Janet S, Diane G, Dianna S, and John and Penny A.
  21. Sent clothing, toiletries, toys and many other things to stock the Feather Store at Marty school.  Kids shop at the store using feathers they’ve earned for good behavior and displaying Dakota values where they can buy clothing, shoes, school supplies, toiletries, toys, etc.  Parents can also come to shop for their family if kids earn the feathers.  SFK member, Lanetta S, made a quilted US map for the school and marked all the areas our volunteers live.  The quilt hangs outside the Feather store at the school.
  22. Provided CD players and blankets for the sleep room project.  New principal, George E. noticed quite a few children showing up for school obviously needing more sleep so they set up a room where kids could sleep for an hour or two and wake up refreshed and ready to learn.  Some kids live in homes with crowded living conditions which are usually noisy, some may sleep on the floor without proper bedding or in a poorly heated room, none of which makes for ideal sleeping conditions.
  23. Made pajamas for kids, one of our members, Margaret H, made a record 87 pairs herself!  Thanks to Margaret and to everyone sending pj’s.  One of our members sent nightgowns and the girls who received them wouldn’t take them off for 3 days!  Pajamas are a new phenomena for some of the kids, they’re used to sleeping in their street clothes.
  24. Provided much needed clothing and other items for elders and children in the foster care system to Wild Horse Butte Community Center serving the Martin area.  They are open to the other parts of the Rez if they have enough donations.
  25. Purchased 12 more swimming passes for kids who wanted to use the pool last summer after Kimmie Clausen told us her funds for the project had run out.  Several members sent in lots of swim suits and Laurie A delivered lots of towels that were donated by a hotel her daughter works for.
  26. Made cloth diapers for the women’s shelter and others in the community to use when disposables run out toward the end of the month.  Winter isn’t the best time to use them as drying is an issue but in the hot, windy SD summers they dry in no time.
  27. Some of our members gave money to Lakota Friends Circle to buy gas for the High Horses to pick up and deliver food, school supplies, shoes, coats, clothing, etc. to families in need.  Jerome High Horse and the Woodchucks cut and deliver wood to families in Wanblee and the outlying areas.  Group members sent warm coats and clothing, work boots and Beulah made her famous “chopper mitts”  for the men so they could be properly dressed for the SD winter when wood and food are needed most.
  28. Provided gifts for the Christmas parties in Wanblee and Martin, we’ll have a blog and full report on those activities soon.

 

Pictures from Marty Indian School showing map made by Lanetta S, inside the Feather Store and sewing supplies and machine for sewing class.

Pictures from the new library Laurie A set up for the youth center in Martin and one from their first garden.

 

Pictures from the Wanblee area

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Honoring elders on Mother’s Day

Beginning the new Community Center

Working on new Community Center

Rehab work on trailer

Rehab work on area trailer

 

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Food distribution at the Kennedy Center

 

Jerome's new tractor

Jerome’s new tractor

 

Well it looks like 2017 was a good year and we’re hoping with your help 2018 is even better.  We tried our best to respond when asked for help and we’re confident many lives were touched because of your kindness and generosity.  We know many people help that are not part of our group and just happen to read our blog, to you we say Thank You for taking time out of your life to pack a box with donations for kids that so desperately need them.  A coat, a blanket or a pair of shoes may not seem like a lot but imagine what it means to the child that receives your gift.

We invite you to join us on our Facebook working group, Sew For Kids Volunteers.  If you want to help but don’t have a lot of time or have a tight budget, please consider donating a small amount monthly or occasionally to our Sew For Kids Fund where your dollars will help buy food for children, diapers and formula for babies, elders needs and much more.  Please share our blog and spread the word about the living conditions and needs of Native Americans living on reservations across the US.

We wish you and your families health and happiness in 2018.  You ARE the best!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Christmas Party Time

Elves from SFK and other groups we partner with have been busy putting the finishing touches on their handmade gifts, or been out shopping looking for just the right thing to send to the kids in Wanblee, Martin and Marty Indian School.  The doll project at SFK, led by member Penny N, is in full swing with several boxes of dolls already making their way to the Rez.  Members are sharing pictures of the doll clothes they’ve made for Barbie’s, eighteen inch, cabbage patch and many other kinds of dolls they’re sending.  It looks like there’s going to be a lot of happy girls this holiday season!  We always have a lot of fun this time of year on our Facebook group and thank Penny for starting the doll project three years ago.  You’re welcome to join our working group here.

Wanblee will hold their annual Parade of Lights December 16.  They’ll be serving cookies, hot chocolate and cider and each child  will receive a goodie bag containing fruit and candy.  A group from Minnesota, affiliated with YouthWorks, is coming to help decorate trucks and cars and of course Santa’s sleigh for the parade.  Some members of the group will dress as elves and hand out gifts to children aged infant to 14 years.   Hopefully they’ll be using the new Community Hall but if that’s not possible gifts will be given out  after the parade.  They also plan to go out in the community and distribute gifts to those children not attending the party.

For those of you still working on gifts Jerome asked if possible to wrap and label them with age and gender.  They have a busy December and will be in Texas the first week so anything you can wrap will save them time.  They do have local volunteers to help wrap gifts if needed.  Jerome couldn’t give us a definite number of kids attending since there are so many from outside the Wanblee area coming.  There is so much need in the area for anything warm so gifts such as hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves are good to send for all ages but they do like to give the younger kids a small toy.  Sending gifts for ages 10-14 usable by either gender are especially desirable.   Plan to have your boxes arrive at least a week before the party, blankets and coats and other things for winter can be sent anytime, the sooner the better as Jerome and Theresa are receiving requests daily.

Gift Suggestions

  • Dolls, stuffed animals, books, craft kits and supplies
  • Art supplies such as crayons, drawing pads, coloring books, colored pencils, crayons, etc.
  • Play-dough, games, and puzzles
  • Sports balls such as basketballs, soccer balls, etc.
  • Cars and trucks, action figures, spinners
  • Hair supplies, nail polish, deodorant and other toiletries, make up, lotion, perfume, purses, etc.
  • Socks and underwear, baseball caps
  • Hats, scarves, gloves and mittens
  • Baby and toddler toys
  • Pillow with pillowcase, blankets

The elders will have a separate party at the Elder Center and receive a shoe box filled with goodies provided by the Ravelry group “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation”.   They will receive other gifts such as afghans and shawls crafted by many of the groups we work with.  Thanks to everyone for making Christmas special for the elders in Wanblee!

Martin will have a party sometime Christmas week at the CAP office with Kimmie dressing as Mrs. Claus and handing out gifts to all who attend.  Community groups will be covering the cost of the dinner.  Kimmie wants to extend a huge thanks to those of you sending gifts and making Christmas special for people in the community.  She goes through our donations throughout the year and puts items back for the holiday season.  She does receive a small stipend to buy gifts for the kids at the youth center and pays special attention to those she knows will get nothing at home Christmas day.  It’s not about kids getting expensive gifts but just so they get something to make them feel special and not forgotten.  The older kids will receive hats, scarves, mittens, etc. for gifts.  Ship your packages so they arrive in Martin 10 days before Christmas so they have time to organize and wrap.  The gift list above will work for the Martin area as well but Kimmie did mention kids love the spinners that are so popular now.  The girls who are participating in the Isnati Awicalowanpi ceremony will help with gift wrapping.

Marty Indian school  usually has a Christmas program and room parents will provide a gift for each child in their class or a collective gift for the classroom.   They do need gift items for the Christmas Feather Store so kids can use feathers they’ve earned to “buy” gifts for their family and themselves too.  Anything on the above list can be sent and small items suitable for parents such as toiletries, towels, washcloths, etc.  One of the kid’s favorite gifts from last year was gift bags filled with small toys and activities.  Christmas vacation starts on December 18 so things for the Feather Store should arrive a week before then so they can stock the store.  The school has a popcorn machine but no supplies, you can help them provide a healthy snack for the kids by sending small paper lunch bags, popcorn, and corn oil.

Shipping addresses for all three areas can be found here.

Sew For Kids wants to send our gratitude and a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone that’s helped respond to the many needs on the Rez throughout the year.  A simple thank you hardly seems adequate for the generosity you’ve shown to the kids, their families and communities.  Whenever we post a need members of SFK and our partner groups are out filling those needs the next day!  You all are simply amazing!  We hear so many nice compliments about the quality of your donations and stories about how something you’ve sent has made a difference to a very grateful recipient.  We may have started the group but all of you ARE the group, we wouldn’t exist without you.   We’ll have a year end blog next month with a summary of accomplishments, party pictures and pictures of your donations (please send).     Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!

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Wanblee Revisited Part 2

The Elder Center did get a new director but unfortunately it wasn’t Mr. Red Elk as we reported in a previous blog.  The tribe hired someone else because Mr. Red Elk didn’t get his resume, background check and drug test done in time so they hired Miss Rogers.  This is her first time holding a cook’s job so has some things to learn but Jerome and Theresa are going to help her through the learning phase, especially since Jerome is the Community Chair in Wanblee.   Part of Jerome’s duties is to make sure funds are being properly used so he’s meeting some resistance.  The tribe has tightened up restrictions too and now all program funding is going through Pine Ridge.  Miss Rogers is currently traveling to Pine Ridge to buy supplies for the center,  Jerome is trying to bring that back to Wanblee but must show they have a working system in place so money isn’t wasted which happened with the previous Community Chair.  He’s also challenging the way management of the Kennedy Hall is being handled, currently one person has control and has a 5 year contract with the tribe.  Jerome feels this building belongs to the community and the fees people pay for it’s use should go back to the community to pay utilities, maintain the building, make repairs, etc. and not into the pocket of the manager.  Sounds like Jerome will be busy with his new position and has a few things to clean up but accountability is his goal!

The elder food program receives $3400 quarterly from a tribal food program.  From this they must pay for propane for the cook stove and heating, electric and phone bills, and cable TV service which adds up to $700 a month (a  lesser amount in  the summer) or $2100 each quarter.  That leaves a monthly budget of $433 to buy food items, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and food containers and gas for the van for home deliveries.  A recent survey shows they served 750 meals over a three week period.  There are 95 elders in Wanblee and the surrounding areas and they’re coming to the center more often and staying longer to enjoy the newly improved building so they need more food.  Jerome and Theresa give them food whenever they receive donations to supplement the food they get from the program as most of it is canned and not very appetizing.  They recently gave the center some of the wild game several local hunters gave Jerome to share with the community.

The new  5 burner stove has been purchased with funds from our generous donors. Jerome and his men will install it and once in place, we will share the photos. All items sent for the elders will be put to good use in the center or sent home with elders and are appreciated. Thank you all.  Dishes and cutlery at times go missing so Jerome wants a system to lock up items when they are not in use. Need is great on the Rez so items left out are a temptation for those who lack them.

There are currently no activities for the elders such as bingo but they do want to start a program for them . They had bingo at the center in the past but many of the younger locals came and disrupted the elders .  SFK member, Laurie A, will be going to Wanblee to build a library at the center and is currently collecting books in her area to take with her.  If you have books or magazines to donate for the elders please send them to Jerome.  Laurie will also set up a library at the new community center so books for kids through adults are certainly needed and can also be sent to Jerome. Sewing machines and material, knitting /crocheting tools and yarn will be needed in the future once programs can be established.  Elders are also in need of adult incontinence products such as Depends in size XL for men and women.  Lakota Friends Circle just purchased some of these using funds from a donor.

The Ravelry group “For the Children of PRR” are providing filled shoe boxes as gifts for the elders for Christmas  which  will be given out at the elder Christmas party, date is still undecided.  Some of you sent wonderful shawls and lapghans and they’ll be given out as well.  There will be a Christmas celebration for the kids on December 17 but is all the information we have for now.

The community did have a Halloween party with funding provided by  Hearts of the Sacred Spirit.  They plan to serve a Thanksgiving dinner to the community and provide food boxes for those that need them.  Running Strong will provide 110 boxes to Wanblee for distribution, they usually get more than 200 but only 4 of the 9 districts turned in the required paperwork.  That situation has been addressed and now each district will have to find a trailer to transport boxes back to their communities as a pick up truck can’t hold 100 food boxes.  So Jerome and Theresa are looking for food for people that won’t be getting a box this year. I guess it’s back to the food bank.

Well that wraps up all the latest news in Wanblee. Rarely have we had to do a “two parter” !  We will have another blog in a couple of days with Christmas gift needs in all three areas we serve.  Until then continue dressing dollies, sewing, crafting and shopping!  Some of the blankets and other needs we listed can certainly be used as Christmas gifts.  If you can only donate one gift it’s better to give the gift of warmth.

Items can be sent here. Many thanks to our AWESOME team!

 

Wanblee Revisited Part 1

 

This past year we haven’t been in regular communication with Jerome and Theresa due to the loss of 5 of their family members in a tragic car accident, several illnesses, and all the construction going on at the new community and elder centers.  They’re still grieving the loss of their grandchildren and great grandchildren, very evident in a recent phone conversation, but they both know they must go on and help others in the community, especially children.  We made a decision after the accident to give them time with their family and to not complicate their lives by sending a lot of boxes they would have to process.  The down side of that decision is the community is now in dire need of blankets, coats, warm clothing, and shoes (kids are still wearing flip flops!) and they need our help!  Warning, this is a lengthy blog.

Both Jerome and Theresa have lived on the Rez off and on for over 60 years and upon retirement they knew their calling was to move back permanently and do what they could to help their community.  Life is tough on the Rez for everyone but children tend to suffer the most.  So many live in severe poverty without proper food and clothing and some may live in homes where someone is abusing alcohol or drugs which puts them at greater risk of physical abuse and neglect.  Their young minds can’t imagine life ever getting any better so many take extreme measures to escape, girls may get pregnant, some kids may run away from home or start abusing substances and others may make the ultimate escape and commit suicide.  Jerome and Theresa want to identify and help kids who are living in stressful situations by giving them basic needs but also want to show them that someone does care about them and most importantly give them the hope that things will get better and their lives do matter.  They also want to help the elder community as some are raising their grandchildren and they’ve spent their lives doing without even the most basic needs.

Over the past year or so there have been many organizations working with the High Horse’s so we wanted to know where SFK and other groups we partner with fit in and what our role is in their community.   Jerome and Theresa both said that SFK, Lakota Friends Circle, Ravelry group “For the Children of PRR“, Yahoo group ‘Pine Ridge Elders“, and charity knitting group, “Halfknits” are the backbone of their community support and they NEED us, essentially our groups are their lifeline of support.  They need us to help them with blankets, warm clothing, hats, gloves, scarves, shoes and boots for the cold weather which has already arrived.  They would also like our help with their  Christmas and Easter parties which draw the largest crowds.  They have smaller parties on Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and Thanksgiving but those events are mainly to get people together as a community to share a meal.  These gatherings gives kids  the chance to not only eat good food and have fun with friends but also to bond with adults and elders from the community that care about them.  For elders it’s a great time to get out, meet friends and neighbors, fill their stomachs and catch up on the local gossip!

Bob and Mary Epps, founders of the group “Families Working Together“, are building the community center in Wanblee and have recently sold their home in Wisconsin and moved to the area to continue their work with the Rez.  Bob is proficient in construction and Mary is a nurse so they bring some much needed skills to share with the community.  They have to do a lot of fundraising in order to raise the $100,000 needed to complete all the work at the center.  Their group’s main focus is and will be home repair and construction projects for families in the Wanblee area.

Wanblee receives food from Running Strong three times a year at major holidays and if they get school supplies, shoes or garden seeds they call Jerome for a pick  up.  Young people from Youthworks volunteer during the summer months and mainly paint houses, mow grass and cut brush to keep rattlesnakes and wildfires at bay.   Some of these volunteers have become friends with Jerome and will come back and work on projects as they did this summer when they worked on walls in the new community center.  Also in the summer they will get several church groups that come and bring activities for the kids to do or teach women to sew or craft during their week long visit.  Two groups from Colorado and Nebraska came this summer and made several repairs to the elder center, another group will soon replace the entrance doors.  There have been a few groups that brought food donations but not consistently, they’re hoping a pastor from Colorado will be bringing some on a more regular basis, weather permitting.  Recently a hunting group brought venison and pheasants and a local farmer gave half a hog to share with the community.  They stored the bounty in the freezers we purchased last spring but they’ve received so many calls from hungry people in Wanblee, Allen, Kyle and other communities they’ve nearly used everything.

If the High Horses receive a lot of calls for food and the cupboard is bare the accountant and his wife from Families Working Together will provide up to $200 for a trip to the food bank in Rapid City where they can purchase food for 18 cents a pound with Jerome and Theresa adding from their own pocket if they can.  Lakota Friends Circle provides funds for gas to pick up the food in Rapid City and  deliver to those in outlying areas that can’t come to town.  Recently the SD food bank’s main office in Pierre checked up on the High Horse’s to see if the food they received was being properly used and they passed with flying colors!  They were so impressed they gave them an additional refrigerator/freezer and they’ve had other groups donating some used ones as well.  The intention is for Wanblee to become a food resource on the Rez as most people there live in a food desert.   They will have to complete the community building before the Pierre office will consider them as a donor site.  If you would like to help finish the community center you can make a donation to Families Working Together here.  They plan to have more gardens and Jerome hopes either Running Strong or the USDA might help with funding for a greenhouse so fresh vegetables can be grown year round and maybe even employ a few people.  Another reason to finish the community center is to provide space for after school programs and educational classes in cooking, sewing, etc., a soup kitchen for those needing a hot meal, and a place to hold community parties and activities. They’re trying to solve the problem of heating just the main community room without the rest of the building as they can’t afford to heat everything and want to start helping people right away.

Jerome was given a small tractor this summer that he hopes to use for working up garden plots if he can find a reasonably priced plow at a farm auction.  He’s currently using the tractor to cut dry grass around homes as they don’t want a repeat of the fires that swept the Wanblee area this summer.   The biggest need right now is purchasing a shed ($1900) to keep the tractor in winter.  The tractor is great for Jerome as his knees are shot from years of manual labor, he’ll need to have a left knee replacement after the holidays to be ready for spring.  He’s already had a right knee and shoulder replacement.  If you or your group can help with this need please contact me here.  Thanks!

The night we talked to Jerome and Theresa it was 23 degrees in Wanblee and families have been calling for the past few weeks asking for warm blankets, coats, hats and mittens, people are cold!  Houses aren’t kept very warm because it’s the only way to conserve their propane supply to last through the winter.  The LIHEAP program runs from October through April but we’re not sure if any funds have been distributed and it’s a first-come based program.  Jerome and the Woodchucks have been busy cutting wood in creek beds and delivering to families in need that have a wood stove.  They are running a little behind schedule as Jerome’s had many things that needed his attention lately, but a group of men from Colorado are going to cut and deliver wood for the community which will help them get back on track.  Hopefully the area will get some help from Hearts of the Sacred Spirit’s propane program but they’re undergoing a few changes in their organization so it’s not a sure thing.

Recently a veteran built and delivered 10 bunk beds complete with mattress, sheets and a light blanket to some lucky kids that were sleeping on the floor covering themselves with a jacket or any clothing they could find to keep warm.  Word got out when kids told their friends what they had gotten and of course they wanted one too so he’s building 10 more and is going to try and recruit some help from his community.  Blankets, pillows and pillowcases are needed for the beds, which number 40 so far.  We can assure you more than one person will be sleeping in each bunk so they can use up to queen size blankets.   Wanblee is the first area we made pillowcases for, remember Theresa’s pillow and PJ parties?  They were a huge hit with the kids and they loved all the colorful kid prints we used.   Get the word out to your friends and family, crafting groups, churches and even your place of employment to see if anyone would like to keep a child warm this winter by providing a cozy blanket or sleeping bag.

Jerome is looking into a project that gives goods to charities rescued from college dumpsters that students have thrown out when leaving school.  We’ve both dived into a dumpster on more than once occasion to retrieve perfectly good clothing and bedding!  Re-Member, an organization on the Rez that builds bunk beds and where Janet spent a week this past summer, is another source Jerome can contact for beds.  They come complete with a mattress and all the bedding and a stuffed toy and book if they have them. Those families still sleeping on the floor need bedding and warm blankets too.   Jerome does try to find mattresses for people but NAHA is the usual source and they haven’t been to Wanblee for the last 6 months.  Their donations are down as goods usually donated to them are instead being given to charities helping hurricane victims.   Jerome and his young men have made bed frames out of pallets that come off the trucks but even if they get the kids off the floor, they still need a mattress to give them a good night’s sleep. We know kids don’t often get enough sleep and is why Marty Indian School has opened a sleep room so kids who just aren’t “with it” in the morning can get a nap and be more alert for learning.

Wanblee Area NeedsCritical in Red

  • Warm clothing – long sleeve shirts, pants, long underwear, leggings, hoodies, sweats, PJ’s, and anything warm.  Highest need school age children 6 to 16/18 and small adult.
  • Footwear – Shoes, boots, heavy socks, slippers-knit, crochet or purchased.  Especially for school age children youth 5 to adult 10
  • Outerwear – Winter coats, hoodies, hats, scarves, cowls, mittens, gloves, fingerless mitts.  Highest need school age children.
  • Bedding – Warm quilts, blankets, and afghans, pillows and pillowcases, sheets twin, full and queen sizes.
  • School Supplies – Paper, pens, pencils, erasers, crayons, etc.
  • Toys, etc. – Simple toys without batteries, books, crafts, sports equipment, stuffed animals, etc. for ages infant to teen

Baby/Toddler Needs

  • Clothing – Sleepers, sleep sacks, sweaters, buntings and coats, warm hats and mittens, toddler warm pants and long shirts
  • Underwear and Diapers – Toddler size underwear, disposable diapers sizes 3-5.  Smaller ones come from WIC and NAHA.
  • Blankets – Quilts, blankets, afghans, receiving blankets.

 

We gave Theresa Kimmie’s contact information at the CDC office in Martin for help with any immediate baby needs and encouraged her to call Bright Start to set up home visits with their nurses.  We would like to place a monthly diaper order for Wanblee but we’ll need to find more donors willing to give a small amount each month to Lakota Friends Circle   to help purchase them.  Our current monthly fund of $170 is pretty much depleted every month as we’re helping Kimmie buy perishable food ($100) from the local grocery for the shelter and youth center and formula/diapers ($50-60) which doesn’t leave a lot to help Wanblee.

We’re so grateful for each and every donor regardless of how they help the Rez!  There are many generous people helping behind the scenes, they recently donated funds to get water access into a home before winter, another helps Jerome with phone and printer costs, others have generously donated supplies to keep Jerome’s chain saws running and still others donated to purchase a new stove for the elder center.  YOU ROCK!

Please send items to the High Horses here. Thanks from Sew For Kids

 

 

The Hub

Kimmie Clausen, Director of the Sacred Shawl Shelter, CDC and the My Space Youth Center in Martin is a hard person to pin down but we did finally manage to get a phone call in and get caught up on the latest Martin news.  Kimmie has been so busy she’ll end up losing about 200 hours of vacation time which expires at the end of the year.  As it is she doesn’t have time to do all the work that needs to be finished before year’s end so a vacation just isn’t in the cards for her.  We know she’s way overdue for a vacation and hope she can take some time off soon to unwind and re-energize.

Kimmie says they’ve become known as “The Hub” across the Rez for the work they do at the shelter and in the community and for the clothing and other goods they have to give out to those in need.  She says the amazing generosity from Sew For Kids, Ravelry group “For The Children of Pine Ridge Reservation”, Yahoo Group “Pine Ridge Elders,” and the knit/crochet group “Halfknits” have really enabled them to reach out and help people across the Rez.  She continues to sing your praises and still wonders how she was lucky enough to be chosen as one of our donation sites.  She says without our donations she couldn’t possibly help all the people that come asking for assistance.  The shelter’s grant money only covers food, utilities, rent, transportation costs and employee salaries and leaves nothing to purchase goods for the day to day needs of all the programs she runs.

Yesterday Child Protective Services (foster care on the Rez) and an elder organization in Oglala came looking for things they needed for the kids and elders as their cupboards were bare.  Because of your continuing support of the Martin area Kimmie was able to help both of these organizations.  They asked if they could please come back again and Kimmie said they were welcome to but she couldn’t guarantee they would have anything extra to give.  She also met with the Bright Start nurses (they service all the Rez) who came to fill up their baby bags with donations sent from all of you.  I’m hoping to speak with nurse Mary soon and ask if we’re meeting their needs and if not what else we can do to help the babies.  Thanks to those members that have made or are making cloth diapers and covers and to those sending monthly donations to Lakota Friends Circle for the purchase of disposable diapers, formula, and other needs.

We want to thank the members of Ravelry group, “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation,” for making baby blankets and sending books and stuffed animals for comfort items.  Thanks to everyone that has sent small toys, books, etc. for the nurses to give out to older children when they make home visits to new babies, it makes them feel included and they share a little of the attention being shown to their new baby brother or sister.  More thanks go to SFK member, Kathy Aceino Carpino and her church for their generous donation of warm clothing and socks for babies and Pjs for the older kids. One of their church members is a retired airline attendant and got a special shipping rate for them from her company which helped a lot with their expenses.  We love  hearing about churches and other groups working together to help those in need!  Kathy joins our talented team of SFK seamstresses that make beautiful (and very popular) dresses for girls on the Rez.  Kathy also sends leggings and a shirt with her dresses for a complete outfit  the girls can wear throughout the year.

It seems the Rez is always in need of bags and there are never enough to go around for all the programs that use them.  They need larger laundry size bags for kids in foster care to hold their clothing and other belongings as they move to new homes.  Laundry size bags are packed with clothing and toiletries and taken to the clinic for rape victims that must submit their clothing to the crime office.  Tote bags and duffel bags are used at the shelter to hold clients new clothing, etc. they received while at the shelter.  Most women and children coming to the shelter have left home in a hurry with just the clothes on their backs.  Diaper bags are always needed for the Bright Start program, the ob-gyn nurses at the health clinic and women seeking help for their babies at the CDC office.

Another need we’ve recently started to help with is getting sanitary kits into the hands of girls so they don’t have to miss school during their monthly cycle because they can’t afford sanitary items.  Thanks to those of you contributing to this need at Marty School, the youth center and women’s shelter.  This is an ongoing need for teens and women so your donations of sanitary products are always welcome at those locations.

The Harvest party at the youth center was held last month and enjoyed by all the kids.  Kimmie says the garden fed many kids at the center this summer and was so successful they plan on doubling the size next year.  The kids had fun learning about, growing and eating veggies.    They’ll be having a Halloween party in a few days so thanks to those that sent costumes and other goodies!  We’re not sure what happens in Martin at Thanksgiving but the tribe in the past has tried to get turkeys to each family.

It’s colder on the Rez now and Kimmie and her staff have noticed a lot of kids walking by the CDC office without coats or hoodies.  They’ve been stopping and asking the kids where their coats are and most say they don’t have one.  They’ve been able to outfit most of the kids they’ve talked to with coats, hats and mittens but now their supply has dwindled to 5 coats and it isn’t even winter yet!  They were lucky to receive a large donation of coats from a lady in Colorado but those have already been given out so the kids in Martin really need our help.  Coats in all sizes are needed as well as hats, mittens and scarves, boots, hoodies and anything else that may keep a child warm.  Check your closets, tell your family and friends to check theirs, visit resale shops, start a coat collection at your church.  Kimmie also needs sweat/jogging pants for kids in all sizes but especially sizes 10-18/20 or small men’s for boys at the shelter.  Males over the age of 14 aren’t allowed in the shelter so must find a relative or friend to live with while their mother is there.

A Christmas party sponsored by the CDC and other businesses in the community will be held at the CAP office sometime in December.  Kimmie will play Mrs. Claus and hand out age and gender appropriate gifts to each child.  She’s been saving things from our donations for gifts throughout the year but will need more to make sure everyone in attendance gets a gift.  We’ll have a more complete list with ages the first of November but wanted to give you a head start until then.    Some suggestions for girls are Barbie and other fashion dolls, hair accessories, makeup bags, toiletries, journals/diaries, fingerless gloves, etc.   All kids like fidget spinners, crafts, art supplies, sports items, books, games, stuffed animals, socks, slippers, etc.   Pajamas are always a welcome gift for the kids and many sets have already been sent by Kathy Carpino’s church group.  They can use more in the larger sizes 10-14/16.

Kimmie is still dealing with money issues at the shelter but things have improved since she got a grant from the NOVA foundation. That money will help cover shortages and also help with the womanhood ceremony which is now open to all girls on the Rez.  Kimmie has purchased a few more sewing machines and fabric for the girls to make their ceremonial dresses with the help of elders in the community.  The ceremony will be held next summer and girls need to attend 2 sessions a month to be ready for their Isnati.  Kimmie met with SD Senator John Thune to discuss the issues she’s been having receiving money awarded through a federal grant to operate the shelter.  He did help get some of the money into their account and will work with her again if needed.

The $20,000  housing grant Kimmie was awarded to renovate the rooms over the garage will soon be put to good use as they start the construction process.  She’s been getting some furniture donations for the rooms which will help the budget and allow her to make other needed repairs around the shelter.  Kimmie wants to coordinate the bedding and room color to make it look more inviting and not “institutional”.  Many of the families come from terrible home environments and she wants to make the shelter as comfortable and homey as possible during their short stay there.  Kat from Halfknits may take on the task of making quilts for the beds once the construction is done.  Look at how Enchanted Makeovers has fixed up their rooms.  The shelter provides a safe environment for clients and they’re usually in no hurry to leave especially the children, they begin to cry when it comes time to go.  Once clients leave they’re still monitored and receive a lot of follow-up care.  So far only a few have been readmitted to the shelter.

Kimmie says it’s more stressful living on the Rez these days with all the uncertainties in our federal government.  Even before the new administration it was tough going but now with the threats of major cuts to the heating program for low-income families and the end of the food stamp program people are understandably worried.  Treaties the government made with various Indian tribes have never been honored, most have been broken, amended or ignored altogether so conditions on the Rez remain as they are.

Finally,  some of you might have tried to access the website for the shelter, CDC etc . It has been down for a month or more as they make changes to content etc.  It has taken longer than expected to get it functional again  as money  to pay someone was an  issue for a short while but hopefully we see a new updated version in the near future. Both the My Space Youth Center and the Sacred Shawl have a facebook page that gets updated from time to time .

Thank you to SFK and all group members for everything you do to help Kimmie help those in Martin and across Pine Ridge.  Maybe we can’t help the entire Rez but we are making a difference to those people Kimmie serves through her programs.  A warm coat or a pair of shoes, diapers or formula for a baby, school supplies or a toy for a child may be simple gifts but they mean so much to the person that receives them.

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wanblee Elder Center Needs

It’s taken a while to arrange a phone call with Jerome but we finally managed to coordinate our schedules and he’s given the following information and needs for the elder center in Wanblee.  Julia R, previous director at the center, left her job after serving the tribe for over 20 years.  The elders were without their daily meals at the center until a replacement could be found.  We’re happy to report the center is open once again with Mr. Red Elk as director with his wife, Marilyn Charging Crow, volunteering her time to get the center attendance back to capacity.  During their first week at the center they had less than 25 elders but over the past few weeks the numbers have steadily increased to their present number of 50 to 60 meals a day.  Some elders have their meals delivered as they have no transportation to the center.  Recent tribal statistics report about 750 meals were served each month M-F to elders prior to the three week shutdown.  There’s a total of 47 female and 42 male elders in the Wanblee area.

Volunteer groups from Colorado and Nebraska arrived over the summer to make some much needed improvements to the elder center.  They did structural work to the building, added more lighting, installed more electric heaters, painted the walls and as word got out about the changes more elders started coming every day.  Pictures of the improvements are here. Good, nutritious food and socialization are both important for elders and it’s also a good way for staff to monitor them either in their homes or at the center.  Another group will soon be installing two steel entrance doors which will help with heating costs and make the building more secure preventing theft which can be an issue in high poverty areas.  Jerome is still looking for a group to replace the roof before winter.  The cook stove is still in need of repair or replacement so in the meantime they’re making do with what they have.

When Mr Red Elk arrived he realized there wasn’t a lot of cookware and what they did have was in poor condition so Jerome asked him to make a list of needs which we’ve posted below.  Jerome also said a crock pot, roaster and electric skillet were missing from recently donated items to the center.  Jerome asked Julia about them and she said she took them when she retired as didn’t have those items at home and for now doesn’t plan to return them.  Maybe after 20 plus years of service she felt entitled to a retirement gift?  Many other things sent in like dish towels, silverware, dishes, etc. were given to elders that needed them and we expected that items such as those would be shared with elders in need.  Julia served the elders well during her time as director at the center, every two weeks she made the 220 mile round trip to Pine Ridge to pick up food, plastic utensils, toilet paper, etc. and if supplies ran out before her next trip she bought them herself using her own funds and was not reimbursed.  We make no judgments nor take sides in matters on the Rez and stand by the old Cherokee proverb, “Don’t judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes”.  And so we move on.

Jerome and Theresa give individual elders and the elder center extra food whenever they receive donations from visiting groups or from Running Strong or NAHA.  They also deliver food to the center when they go to the food bank in Rapid City which adds a little variety to the menu as most of their food is prepared from canned goods.  If the trucks have toiletries or cleaning supplies they try to save some for the elder center.  Hopefully in the future as more gardens get established in the area, elders and the entire community will have access to fresh produce.  Once the community center is finished (SFK donors have already bought the refrigerator and freezers) the food bank in Rapid City will start making deliveries and Wanblee will finally have a food bank center and elders will receive a monthly food box

The following items are on Mr. Elk’s needs list for the elder center.  Anne Fields dropped off 50 plates for the center and many items for the Woodchucks on her recent trip to the Rez which they were delighted to receive.

Elder Center Needs

  • Pots – 2 gallon and XL preferably stainless steel for cooking soup for 50+ people.
  • Prep bowls – Stainless steel in S-XL for cake mixing, salads, etc.
  • Plastic Containers – Medium and larger sizes for food storage.
  • Electric Mixer
  • Crock Pots
  • Roasters
  • Microwave
  • Toaster
  • Coffee Maker – 30 cup
  • Pitchers – Large for Kool-Aid and iced tea.
  • Ladles – For soup, etc. and spaghetti ladle
  • Cutlery – Stainless steel spoons and forks (have lots of knives). Plastic cutlery for home deliveries.
  • Ceiling Fan – for storage pantry
  • Cooling Fans – Floor models on stands
  • Kitchen Linens – Pot holders square and mitt type,  dish towels, dish cloths. hand towels
  • Paper goods – Paper towels, toilet paper, napkins, copy paper
  • Cleaning supplies – Clorox/bleach, Pine Sol, Floor cleaner.

 

The Ravelry group “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation” is doing a special elder project this year for Christmas.  They’re filling a plastic shoe box with toiletries, personal items, gloves, hats, and other needs for each elder in the Wanblee area.  Kat from the charity group, Halfknits, is delivering afghans/blankets they’ve made on her whirlwind trip from Texas to Marty Indian School, Martin and Wanblee, the same trip Anne Fields from Lakota Friends Circle just made from her home in Georgia.  The SFK Yahoo group, Pine Ridge Elders, and SFK  Volunteer  group on Facebook are also working on warm winter items for the elders.  The needs list below is for individual elders in the Wanblee area, both those that come to the center and those that live in the outlying areas without transportation.

 ELDER NEEDS

  • Blankets – Afghans, quilts, and blankets, twin size.
  • Socks – For men and women, larger tops more desirable for those suffering from diabetes.  Some shoe sizes are 12+ for men and 10+ for women so need larger sock sizes.
  • Hats and Gloves – for winter, hand crafted or purchased, L-XL.
  • Toiletries – Small or hotel sizes, shampoo, lotion, soap, etc. in small bags for easy giving.
  • Incontinence Products – Depends or other brand for men and women in XL.  These are a constant need. Waterproof pads for bed good too.
The community is hoping to have activities such as Bingo games, etc. at the elder center in the near future so we’ll keep you posted as they’ll need “prizes” such as wash cloths, toiletries, kleenex, etc.  We’re keeping a list of donations that you can check before shopping or sending.  Please send all donations to Jerome High Horse  here.  Include a note in your box stating it’s for the elder center and include a SASE if wanting a response and if needing a tax deduction include a charitable deduction form with a note to please sign and return.  If you would like to help the elders but don’t have time for shopping you can give a monetary donation to Lakota Friends Circle here.  Please make a notation where you want your donation used.  If you’re a Facebook user you’re welcome to join our active group here.
Thank you for continuing to support elders on the Rez.  Many of them are raising grandchildren, volunteering their time in schools and their communities, never receiving recognition and even going hungry when there isn’t enough food to go around.  We think it’s time to help those who give so much but receive (and expect) so little.
Thank you from Sew For Kids.

 

September/October Projects

Temps on the Rez are still in the 70’s and 80’s but will soon be on the downward slide as fall and winter approach.  This time of the year is when our areas need the most help.  Marty Indian School in Marty, My Space Youth Center and Sacred Shawl Society/CDC in Martin and the community of Wanblee and surrounding areas will all need our help to ensure children and families stay warm this winter.  Kids always love the first snowfall and enjoy playing in it with their friends sledding, building snowmen and throwing snowballs but a lot of them don’t have coats or boots and go out wearing just a hoodie and a pair of tennis shoes, most likely with no socks!  When their fingers are frozen and they head inside to get warm many of them go into a home with little or no heat.

It’s all about priority on the Rez, some families will delay filling the propane tank in order to buy food, medicine or other emergency needs.  An already meager budget is strained to the breaking point in winter when electric bills are much higher, more propane is needed for heating and family members are returning home from their seasonal jobs which means more mouths to feed and the loss of their income to help support the family. There are very few jobs on the Rez, most are employed at the BIA or other government office or seasonally at construction sites, ranches or by the National Park Service.  Fortunately kids are in school most days where they can stay warm and get breakfast and lunch and sometimes an afternoon snack before they head home for the night.  For many children this is their last meal for the day as there won’t be supper waiting for them at home.

Propane companies deliver a minimum of $150 of fuel and that may only last a few weeks in poorly insulated homes with doors and windows in bad disrepair.  A full tank of propane can cost upwards of $700, an impossible amount for most families to come up with.  They do try to cover windows with plastic or heavy blankets, if they have them, but the cold winds still find their way through any small cracks and especially through the floors of trailers without skirting.  Heat is kept as low as possible at night to keep pipes from freezing to conserve but that puts people at risk for hypothermia, especially children, elders and those that are suffering from chronic illnesses.

We don’t know if funds for the LIHEAP heating program will be cut again this year but we’re hoping not as the people that receive those funds are among the poorest in the country, including our families on the Rez.  The amount of help each person receives has been decreasing every year making an already bad situation much worse.

Our project for the next 2 months is reserved for warm winter clothing and blankets. Many members of our group as well as the Ravelry group, Halfknits and FOPRR work on winter needs most of the year so they’re prepared to send when temperatures begin to drop.

September/October  Warm Winter Gear

  • Winter coats, buntings for babies, snow pants, hoodies, fleece pullovers and sweaters, sweatshirts and sweatpants, ponchos, shawls, sleep sacks for babies, warm flannel/fleece pj’s, long underwear, fleece lined leggings, and anything else warm and suitable for layering in sizes infant through adult.
  • Gloves, mittens (fingerless too), scarves, cowls, hats.  Crafters get out your crochet hooks and knitting needles, sewers can make them from fleece, shoppers can buy ready made.
  • Boots and shoes suitable for winter, warm socks, slippers either hand crafted or purchased.  Keeping extremities warm is essential, even more important for the elderly and diabetics.
  • Warm blankets…. twin to queen size for beds, smaller for kids to wrap up in.

Check your closets for extra or outgrown coats, ask friends and family to check theirs too, visit thrift stores and the fall garage sales.  When packing your boxes consider adding some items to make hot drinks such as tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate and also nutritious snacks to provide some extra calories to burn to maintain body heat.

This is also the time we set aside to make or buy warm pajamas for kids so they’re not sleeping in their street clothes.  Many kids have very few changes of clothes and the ones they have may not have been laundered for a while, sleeping in dirty clothes that might be worn to school the next day does nothing for a child’s dignity or self esteem.  Sleeping in street clothes also exposes kids to all the pollutants they’ve been exposed to throughout the day.  We encourage mothers to use warm sleepsacks with layered clothing underneath to keep their babies warm instead of using lots of blankets or sleeping with them, both of which increases the risk of SIDS.  Learning how to use a blanket on an infant correctly can prevent a tragedy from occurring.

In the past we’ve also made pillowcases for the new pillows we bought around this time for the kids but this year we’ve decided to put this project on the Christmas gift list.  Whatever you can do to help, even if it’s only one warm hat or pair of mittens, means there’s one child out there staying warm with your gift.  We are so grateful for all our generous SFK members and for all the groups we partner with.

Please send your donations here,  If you would like to join our working group please visit us on Facebook