The School Supply Drive is ON!
In the midst of all the turmoil in the world right now, you may have forgotten that school is just around the corner. This is the third year that the Daily Kos community has been sending school supplies for kids served by the Okiciyap food pantry on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. They have really, really counted on our donations to prepare the kids for back-to-school.
Okiciyap really counts on your donations of school supplies. Since 2012 the pantry has supplied vital materials to 179 area school children, and they have no other source for them. There are some things left over from last year, so go by this guide for sending things for 2014
This year, we have gotten a bit of a late start and have relatively little time to get supplies to the children of Cheyenne River. Okiciyap has already received a couple of large shipments from at least one Kossack (I think I know one of you, and thank you very much to anyone who has already sent supplies! They have gotten at least 3 shipments from Kossacks, one today). They were a little anxious since we were so late in starting the drive, but the auto shippers got a head start on us!
For several logistical reasons, this year it's better to send the supplies that they have requested than to send money; due to a paperwork error they have temporarily lost their 501c3 status. So, just supplies until they complete the process of getting reinstated.
Since we started the school supply drive in 2012, you have helped 179 students. This year they hope to serve the same student population in Isabel and surrounding towns as before.
So the process is simple. Take a look at their wish list and put something in the mail. Last year they had some things left over, so the list this year is not as large as it was in 2013.
I don't know about you, but thinking about something as simple and necessary as school supplies and the impact this makes on the kids' lives makes me feel more grounded after the recent pile up of so many disturbing national and international events.
There are now enough staff in the pantry to receive supplies, so send them directly to the trailer:
309 N. Wilson Ave.
Isabel SD 57633.
Just a few updates on Okiciyap: despite some bookkeeping problems the pantry continues to distribute food and is now in the process of developing some health- and youth-related programs. They had a diabetes educator give a talk a few weeks ago, youth development activities are happening, and other health education activities are planned.
A couple of kids happily posing with their back-to-school supplies
Here are some early thank yous from parents (posted on their Facebook page):
Feb. 28, 2014
With the winter wearing on and on, we still need window insulation kits- they'll be up through April at this point. The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has stepped in with funding to help more people with heating costs this winter, so we're collecting funds for those who slip through the cracks, as they're bound to do.
In the meantime, the pantry is still receiving loads of food too. Here are some photos from the most recent shipment earier this week.
An Extra Frigid and Propane Shortage Winter Endangers Isabel's Elders
As you know, this winter has been terribly cold for most of the country. Temperatures in the Dakotas have been particularly frigid, going down as far as 60 below zero windchills.
This has meant that many people on reservations have had difficulty heating their homes this winter, particularly the elders. Often living in leaky, substandard houses, many of them ran out of propane weeks ago, and then began heating their homes with their electric stoves. This caused their electric bills to skyrocket so high that they could not pay them. The electric company serving Isabel was close to turning off the electricity for many of them. Others were on the verge of running out of propane.
One elderly couple was in particular trouble because the wife had just fallen and broken her leg and was recovering at home... a freezing home.
On top of this, federal home heating assistance has been a victim of funding cuts, leaving tribes unable to provide real assistance, and there is a national shortage of propane, which has caused prices to skyrocket.
Last week, the Tribe appealed to Okiciyap for help because it is out of heating assistance funds.
Because of your donations, the pantry director was able to intervene with the electric and propane companies on behalf of 23 elders in Isabel, SD. Keeping the electricity on and providing them with full tanks of propane cost $3000.
Okiciyap now needs to replenish this fund it can continue to assist the elders with heating costs this winter.
EMERGENCY REQUEST FOR COLD WEATHER ITEMS
While the pantry needs money to keep the elders warm, everyone else is also freezing on the reservation right now. The pantry has asked people to send blankets, electric heaters, hand warming packs, thermal shirts and pants of all sizes...AND sheets of plastic and duct tape to put up around windows. You can even send one of those window insulation kits from the hardware store. Thank you!!