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Ten days ago, Aji and betson08 launched a fundraising drive for gift cards to thank each of the 19 regular volunteers at the Okiciyap food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation in Isabel, South Dakota. And two weeks ago, weck continued to request warm winter clothing for the 100+ children that Okiciyap helps. This diary continues those efforts.

First, though, thank you all for what you've made possible for Okiciyap during the past 6 months. In addition to raising money for food, which is always needed, you have helped to raise funds for much-needed appliances, including 3 window air-conditioning units and a refrigerator for the food pantry. The a/c units aren't needed at the moment, of course, but Okiciyap's clients and volunteers definitely appreciated them during the latter part of the summer!

In addition, readers donated and raised funds for back-to-school supplies for Okiciyap to distribute to 100 students in August. Generous donors have also sent office equipment and supplies, kitchen items, quilting and sewing supplies, arts & crafts supplies, games, and some books by native authors for a youth library, among other things. Last month, you funded Thanksgiving dinners for 50 families served by Okiciyap. And you have now helped to raise the money that Okiciyap needs to sponsor a community dinner for Christmas.

A few days ago, Ojibwa posted statistics regarding Reservation Poverty at Cheyenne River:

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota covers 11,447 square miles and has a population of about 8,500.

Two out of five of the reservation households (42%) live in poverty and 15% are in extreme poverty [defined as less than half of the poverty threshold]. The official unemployment rate is about 8.6% with 43% of the reservation adults out of the labor force. About one third of the reservation adults (33%) have at least a high school education.

Your efforts to help Okiciyap help their community are making a difference where there is a high poverty rate. Here are just a few photos of Okiciyap volunteers donating their time, effort, and skills to help others in their community.

During a 5-week period early this spring, Okiciyap's volunteers built and installed the skirt and the wheelchair ramp (these photos stolen from Aji, who stole them from betson08):





Volunteers bagged food for 50 Thanksgiving dinners, thanks to our donors:


Volunteers unloaded donated items:




To help thank Okiciyap's volunteers, betson08 has found a way (the same method she used for the Pretty Bird Woman House volunteers several years ago): gift cards that they can use for virtually anything. In hopes of raising enough to purchase a $100 gift card for each volunteer, betson08 set the goal for this fundraiser at $1,900. The $1125 raised thus far divides to $59.21 each, which will make a big difference in the lives of a few dedicated people who, for the past couple of years, have been giving selflessly of themselves, their time, and their own very limited funds.


Here's the widget (and the link):


Winter Clothing & Blankets
According to my weather app, it was 8° in Isabel, SD at 4:30pm CT today. Okiciyap still needs clothing items to distribute during these cold winter months, and we're hoping that you'll keep them in mind as you replace gently used outerwear for children and teenagers.

Coats and Jackets
New Socks

In particular, Cindy has requested new and gently used snow boots and snow pants: "One of the moms at the meeting last nite asked if I would put snow boots and snow pants on the list? That was a really good suggestion. Our kids wait outside of the old school for the buses, some in cars some not, and I remember the ones with no snow boots or snow pants and wind chills upward of -10 to -20."
These clothing items are also always needed:

Jeans (new or gently used):
       Girls size 6x to adult junior size 14
       Boys size 4 to 36x34
T-shirts (youth sm to lg and adult lg to 3x)
New underwear
New bras or sportsbras

Okiciyap (we help) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to provide a Food Pantry, Youth Center, K-12 educational support, GED & Lakota as a 2nd language class support, and other lifelong learning opportunities for youth and adults. More information is available at the Okiciyap website as well as in the Okiciyap diaries at Daily Kos.

Since Okiciyap is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your donations are tax deductible, with the exception mentioned above of the fundraising effort for the volunteer gift cards.

To mail checks or packages directly to the pantry, please use this address:

Cindy A Taylor
P O Box 172
Isabel, SD 57633-0172

Please use this widget to make a tax-deductible donation for food and other needs (link):

betson08 has also registered Okiciyap with iGive, which means that your online purchases from participating retailers could automatically generate a donation. Here's the link for more details:

Originally posted to Okiciyap (we help) on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 04:00 PM PST.

Also republished by J Town, Community Fundraisers, and South Dakota Kos.

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