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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • A little help, a litle hope

  •   Last April 15, the Redwood Gazette featured a story about Joanne Kitto’s work at the Redwood Falls Public Library. Among other subjects, the article mentioned how Joanne collected items every year to take back to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation where she grew up—...
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  •   Last April 15, the Redwood Gazette featured a story about Joanne Kitto’s work at the Redwood Falls Public Library. Among other subjects, the article mentioned how Joanne collected items every year to take back to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation where she grew up—one of the poorest in the nation. “When the Gazette story came out, people came into the library to ask if I’d accept donations,” she said earlier this week. Joanne’s friend Clara Friese offered to help organize all the donations that were pouring in. “I talked to people about it, and everyone wanted to help,” Clara said. “We contacted the thrift stores in town, and collected five pickup loads of items. “I talked to (Redwood Falls Police Chief) Mark Dressen, and asked if the police department still picks up stolen bikes. “Mark said we could have any that haven’t been picked up in over 90 days. We got 12 or 13 bikes that way. “We’ve also talked to most of the pastors in town, and asked if their churches could donate food, clothing, bikes, or cash. “We contacted the Lower Sioux council to see if they were okay with our doing this drive for the Rose Bud reservation, and they were totally onboard,” said Clara, adding the Lower Sioux have quietly sent several loads of donations there themselves over the years. The way the donations were adding up, there was no way to put it all in one van or pickup. How was it all to get to South Dakota?  “I was doing Indian taco sales to raise money to rent a trailer,” Joanne said. However, among the other volunteers who offered to help, Bob and Mary Wetmore have pledged to donated an A&W Furniture van to deliver the goods to the Rose Bud Indian Reservation, while Jim Tersteeg has allowed his parking lot to be used as a collection spot. Joanne’s drive for the Rose Bud Indian Reservation will culminate on Sept. 15 and 16, when the Redwood Falls and the Lower Sioux Communities will host a clothing and household items collection at the Tersteegs’s parking lot. “We’ll also need several volunteers to help load the truck,” said Clara. There is so much material already, it will take several people just to load them onto the trucks. The plan is for several local volunteers to drive the van and other vehicles to the Rose Bud Indian Reservation on Sept. 20, and distribute them later that day. Related to Pine Ridge, the Rose Bud Indian Reservation in  South Dakota is home to approximately 2,000 people. “The communities are so spread out there,” said Joanne. “We want to get out to the outlying communities. “We’ve already contacted them to have families with elders and children be the first to accept items.” “We need more cash to pay for the hotel rooms and travel costs,”?said Clara. “Any cash left over will be left with the elders to buy perishable foods, like dairy products.” “We want to give the people of the Rose Bud reservation a little bit of help, a little bit of hope. We want to let them know the people out here care,” said Joanne.
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