Most Valuable Donations

Nothing is more important than food when you are hungry and water when you are thirsty.  Beyond that, we can survive without many possessions but there are some that make a noticeable difference in the lives of people who cannot afford to buy them, or have no way of getting to stores where they are sold.  The large city in western South Dakota is Rapid City.  It lies about 90 miles NNW of the reservation.

CLOTHES:  Beyond the obvious need to stay warm in the long winter months, or in the cold summer nights on the prairie, there are other factors.  On the first day of school, you want to wear something nice, something better than the old faded jeans, or the worn other sneakers you wore the previous school year.  As a parent, no matter what your means may be, you want your children to walk proudly and confidently to the classroom.  This is just one example to show why clothes are a bigger gift than many donors realize.

HEATERS:  Temperatures can drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit in the prairie.  Every year, many elders die in the cold because they cannot afford the propane needed to run their heaters.  Electric heaters are a viable and in some cases life saving alternative.  Plugged into a 110 Volt household outlet, they can provide enough warmth to keep the interior of the house from freezing.

SEWING MACHINES:  I cannot adequately describe the look on the face of a person who receives a sewing machine.  These machines are so valuable to them !!  A good sewing machine will last for a long time and will serve to not only mend old clothing but also make new clothing, blankets, dance outfits, etc.  In most cases, machines are shared in the family.  They also provide an opportunity to help others and make a living.

MICROWAVE, CONVECTION AND TOASTER OVENS:  Microwave, convection, toaster ovens and similar devices are the only electric food preparation method available in some households.  They are particularly useful with small children, you only consume small quantities of food that should be warmed up.

FANS:  Similarly, fans provide a welcome draft on hot days.  They are particularly helpful to the sick, the handicapped and the elderly who don't have the option to leave the house and look for a cool place in the shade outside.

AIR-CONDITIONERS:  Many residents of reservations throughout the U.S. cannot afford the cost of a new air conditioner.  Your old window A/C may still serve them well.  

COMPUTERS and paraphernalia:  Students everywhere use computers nowadays.  Even the poorest of all reservations are no exception from that rule, except that many students have to share a common computer there.  The rapid progress of computer technology and software development handicap efforts to supply school students with computers as the equipment and software must be up-to-date.  Otherwise, students don't gain the technological and educational advantage these modern tools should provide.  Outdated software is incompatible with classroom computers, and older computers may not run the latest software versions.

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