Blanket And Toy Drive Banner Image

Click to download PDF of 2017 event flyer
On the first Saturday in December, Redbird hosts our annual Blanket, Toy and School Supplies Drive and Mini-Powwow, which has been held for the last several years at the Simi Valley Town Center Mall Community Room. New, lightweight, washable blankets and new small to medium sized stuffed toys are sent to the White Plume family in Manderson, South Dakota, for distribution to individuals and families on the Pine Ridge Reservation. In this way, the blankets are given as gifts; not as charity from outsiders, but coming in a good way from the hands of loved and respected tribal elders. New boxed and hard toys and school supplies are given to Walking Shield, who has an extensive distribution network and a long reputation of service to Native American reservations.

The drive is also a mini powwow. For a number of years we have been honored with the presence of the respected and sought after northern drum Blue Star, whose traditional Lakota songs come from the elders of the Porcupine District on Pine Ridge. In 2013 and 2014 we were also graced with the songs of the beloved southern drum Crooked Hat. Cultural presenters often join us; Mike Watts, Dan Running Bear, Ken Marchionno, Alan Salazar, Michael Reifel, Johnny Nieto and Joe Calderon have all shared their stories, songs and knowledge with us. There is food, singing, dancing and laughter. Everyone is welcome; dancers in regalia are welcome.

Blankets and toys are shipped by mail, and the cost is about $800.00, so donations for shipping are also needed; please see the "get involved" page for donation options. The need on the Pine Ridge and surrounding reservations is great, and Christmas is not the only time people need to stay warm. We encourage others - groups and individuals - to consider hosting similar gatherings in their own neighborhoods, and creating liaisons with people in the native community who are able to assist with the distribution of items. To stay abreast of news relating to the toy drive, follow us on Facebook:

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