Winter weather is right around the corner for the Native Americans living on the Reservations in South Dakota. I am sure that winter is the last thing on your mind right now as you are still enjoying your last weeks of summer. However, the Native Americans are preparing now before the cold, hard, bitterly winter months creep up on them. The parents of school aged children are trying to gather up as much winter clothing as they can so their children have the proper attire to wear on days where the temperatures drop to 30 below freezing. If they don’t have the proper clothing to protect them against the elements they will suffer from more than shivering discomfort, they could risk the chance of losing toes or fingers to frostbite. That is where the decision comes to either keep your children home from school, which means losing out on an education or sending them out in the cold weather where there’s a chance something terrible could happen. Parents often decide to keep their children home since after all it can be a matter of life and death giving that temperatures plunge to 30 degrees below zero. But good education is the key to Native American children getting a chance to better themselves. That is why NAHA is determined to make our 2013 “Winter Life-Guard” program the biggest one ever and give Wal-Mart purchase orders to every family in need.
Like so many tasks that you and I might consider being routine, getting to Wal-Mart is an enormous challenge for so many families living on the Sioux Reservations. If the tribe has access to a bus, they try to get use of it on a Saturday. If that can’t happen, they will attempt to find someone with a car and combine gas money for the long trip to the nearest Wal-Mart. On top of that, they then have to scrape enough money together to buy winter clothing for their children. With unemployment rates on the Reservations at 80%, most Native American families simply cannot afford the cost of clothing that their children so desperately need to cope with the brutal South Dakota winters.
This is where our program, “Winter Life-Guard” comes into play. We provide parents with school aged children a $75 voucher to Wal-Mart to buy boots, socks, jackets, pants, gloves, hats, etc. for them to start the school year and to protect them against the bitterly cold winter days. We urgently need you to become a child’s “Winter Life-Guard” by sending a contribution of whatever you can afford. Again, $75 will cover one Wal-Mart voucher. We need to get these vouchers out to the families NOW before the brutal winter comes knocking on their doors. So please send in whatever you can afford, whether it’s a money donation or shipping gently-used clothing, anything at all helps. The address to ship clothing or other miscellaneous items is: NAHA, 12085 Quaal Rd, Black Hawk, SD 57718. These children are counting on you to help them stay warm from the tough winter ahead. Please, don’t let them down!!!