Saturday, January 19, 2013

Trips to the dollar store

I'm all for buying items that are made in America; but I must admit that I didn't look to see where this one was made.  I can just about guess; but that's not why I'm posting about it.

Over the years, I've tried various reading lights, and most konk out right away.
Yesterday, while getting a couple of things at the local dollar store, I spotted this handy little light.

It has a clip to clip it to a book, of course, but I must admit that I was having thoughts such as clipping it to my blouse, aiming at someplace (such as my cat's paw when trimming claws) so that both of my hands would be free.
The light that eminates is actually quite a piercing beam, very bright, indeed. (My photo of this light doesn't really do it justice--it's powerful and provides plenty of light across both pages!)

The little gadget came with three small batteries, so I opened up the little bullet-like container and inserted them.  All you have to do is press the silver end and the light comes on.

I used it last night to read before I went to sleep. 
I really like this little dollar gadget!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota (America's third world country)

Are you a knitter or do you crochet?  Here's a great way to share your crafting with those who really appreciate your work. 
Some time back, I was reading on a knitting blog and someone mentioned making and giving warm hats, a local shelter.  Another blogger commented that she had information that in some instances, it happens that the recipients of these hand-made items will sell them for a few bucks so that they can then buy something for their addiction.  
This knitting blog is where I first heard about the needs at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  There is much to see online regarding this reservation in particular.  There are about 40,000 residents of Lakota heritage (Sioux) and they are in desperate need of basic supplies and things to keep them warm in the difficult freezing temperatures in South Dakota.
Everyone has their own favorite charity.  I would encourage anyone to read up on the reservation, and one group, which is legit, organizes online drives to bring in donations.  The name of this organization is Friends of Pine Ridge.  You can Google any info you need about the organization or the reservation.
Through this organization, I have gleaned names and addresses, post office boxes and drop off locations for Fedx and UPS.
As for myself, I favor the LOWO, which is the foster child organization there on the reservation.  You can bring up a chart online to compare USPS with UPS and Fedx for shipping fees.
Some people just order an item online and give the address so that the item is delivered to the reservation.  Since my budget is pretty limited, I spend my time enjoying making knitted items and sending them, along with other personal supplies, to the foster program.  So far I have been using UPS, which has worked out well.  I can track the delivery online, and see who signed for the package.
I have learned that the reservation doesn't have street addresses as we do.  However, to facilitate drop off deliveries from UPS and Fedx, certain locations have been named, so that the drivers are able to deliver the packages.
Before I went ahead with my projects, I contacted an online friend who lives in New Mexico and had a mother who was  Native American.  When I asked her about Pine Ridge, she said "I can promise you that anything that you send will be completely appreciated.  Nothing is wasted.  They are thankful for anything that you send."  She then added that she also is connected to a board which promotes certain individuals who complete high school, assisting them in gaining a college education.
Most importantly, she told me that she knew that when I sent donations, the Lakota people would put me in their prayer circle.  Who could ask for more?
Pine Ridge Reservation has been described as a "third world country" right here in America.  Some people perish each winter because of the cold.  Some people sleep in old abandoned vehicles.  Others, several extended families, might crowd into a trailer or similar housing.
From what I have read, the Lakota people will take in their family members, even though they are lacking the space and utilities and necessary items themselves.  
I can't think of a better place to send my knitted items!   Shown in the above picture are the things I was packing for last month's shipment to the foster care program on the reservation.  Almost every item was purchased at the local dollar store here.   Most of the children taken from their homes carry a few belongings in a trash bag, so totes and backpacks are always welcome.
They also advise leaving tags on items that you buy (not price tags), just showing that the item is new.  This is because the foster children so rarely get anything "new" that it is especially treasured.
For just a few dollars, I was able to get hairbrushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, games, puzzles, coloring books---anything that a child could use.
The foster program serves those from infant to 18 years of age.
There is also a veterans shelter on the reservation, aiding those who have served in the U.S.military, but who now have no resources.
I hope anyone who reads this will research the Pine Ridge Reservation online and learn more about how you can help, even with a small donation of everyday items.
The Native Americans who live on this reservation are in a situation where, IF they had a good-working vehicle and IF they could find a job, they might have to travel back and forth 200 miles per day to work at such a job.   I can't imagine having much hope in a situation such as this.  Most of us, who have worked within a few miles of home, gripe about gas prices, etc....can you imagine trying to take care of yourself and your family in these conditions?