IMPORTANT UPDATE: Yesterday and today, we've been using betson08's e-mail address for the PayPal contributions for this drive. She will be traveling for the holidays, and besides, anything given from this point forward would not be transferable to Georgia in time for the holidays. As of now (4PM MST on 12/19/11, if you'd still like to donate to this effort, please PayPal your contribution directly to Georgia at littleshield [at] lakotanetwork [dot] com. Times will be even tougher after the holidays for the food pantry and the folks who use its services, so you can rest assured that your donations are very much needed and appreciated.
This will be short.
Yesterday, this community exceeded our wildest dreams by donating $760 to help provide a real Christmas dinner for Georgia Little Shield, her family, and the many people they feed through the reservation food pantry they operate, Okiciyap. (And, yes, the number actually exceeds that, but this is our one trackable benchmark.)
Kossack NMRed has once again generously offered matching funds. If we can get the widget up to $900, she will match with another $100 to being it up to an even $1,000. We only need to raise $140 this morning, folks. That's 14 donations of $10 each. And you'll have the added benefit of me promising to shut up about this, at least for the day. :-D
Read on below the jump to see how you can help.
I know it's hard out there for everybody right now. And I know we're all being inundated with requests to help very, very worthy causes.
But right now, I need to ask for your help for a very special person. And since it occurred to me that a number of the members of the Kos Katalogue have probably already benefited, as Wings and I have, from Katalogue membership, this might be a way for those of us who can to pay it forward a bit. I know a lot of folks won't be able to do that; things are just too tight. But if you think you might be able to spare five bucks, or an item from your inventory, please read on to see how you can help someone who really need the support right now.
A lot of you are already familiar with the name Georgia Little Shield. She was the founder of Pretty Bird Woman House, and betson08 has a long history of activism here at Daily Kos on behalf of the shelter and other projects. More recently, betson08 has been helping raise awareness and raise funds for Georgia's most recent project, at Isabel on the Cheyenne River Reservation: Okiciyap ("We Help," in Lakota).
Okiciyap is a nonprofit organization that is currently establishing a food pantry to feed the reservation's hungry at Isabel (and there are many). Part of the long-term project plan includes establishing a youth center, in part, to help stem the epidemic of suicides among young people on the rez. (In upcoming weeks, I'll be posting a diary about that particular issue.) There are a number of ongoing efforts here to raise funds for Okiciyap, but today, I'm going to ask you for something more personal.
A lot of (probably most?) American Indians celebrate most of the usual holidays, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wings and I are probably unusual in that we don't celebrate them in their usual sense, although we generally do sit down together to a nice meal and we do try to use those days to keep in mind the ways that we've been blessed. But we know that we're far from the norm these days.
Georgia Little Shield and her family observe both holidays. Or, rather, they try to. It came to our attention too late that they were not able to afford a turkey for Thanksgiving, although Georgia cooked with what she had on-hand to provide a holiday meal for extended family. They've been putting all of their time and effort and resources into the food pantry, and into trying to save lives at Isabel. However, Christmas is one week away, and we've learned that they will not have a holiday for their family - unless . . . okiciyap ("we help").
So I'm coming to each of you today, hat in hand, asking you to help us give Georgia, her husband Norman, their adopted niece Crystal, and any extended family who join them next Sunday a Christmas dinner and some gifts to open. Wings and I have a gift for Georgia (a piece of his art) that we are shipping tomorrow. But a few extras would be welcome, including something for Norman, and age-appropriate items for Crystal (she's 11). I know we have some incredible talent here, and if you're like us, you may have an item already in inventory that would be perfect for such a gift - and maybe there's a reason it hasn't sold before now, yes?
In addition, betson08 has set up a separate ChipIn widget for Okiciyap, specifically to provide for a Christmas dinner for Georgia's family and all those they will feed at the food pantry. To give you some idea of this family's selflessness, they've pout all their own resources into the pantry, which is why there's nothing left for their own Christmas. They've set aside all they have for Sunday's meal for others - and that's only three frozen turkeys, "mashed potato" buds (you know, those flaky things), and some canned pie filling. So betson08's put a goal of $500 on this widget, to try to ensure that they - and everyone in Isabel who is hungry and without resources on Christmas Day - can have a real dinner. Even five bucks will go a long way - and in Isabel right now, with the kind of bitter cold and lack of other assistance that people are facing, that five bucks could save a life.
If you want to send a check directly to Okiciyap, here's the address:
Georgia Little Shield, Board Chair
PO Box 172
225 W. Utah St.
Isabel S.D. 57633
Chi miigwech ("many thanks") to everyone who can help in some way.