Generous donors stuff van for trip to South Dakota

September 7, 2014 by

Donors gave 26 prom dresses for high school girls on the Rosebud reservation.

Donors gave 26 prom dresses for high school girls on the Rosebud reservation.

Two Catholic sisters from Concordia should be arriving in South Dakota Monday (Sept. 8), in a van packed with donations that just begin with prom dresses.

When Sister Beth Weddle began collecting items for the Tree of Life Relief Agency on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, her idea was to gather fancy once-in-a-lifetime dresses for high school girls — and she was successful: She gathered 26 creations in taffeta, silk, satin, velvet and chiffon.

But on Friday when she began loading the large van, on loan from the Sisters of St. Joseph, there was much, much more to put on board. In Sister Beth’s words, the cargo included:

“Many, many — I didn’t count how many but a lot! — boxes and bags full of children’s clothes, a crib with mattress, high chair, two sewing machines, bed sheets, blankets, comforters, jewelry, two boxes of children’s books, a box of children’s puzzles…”

Of special note, Sister Beth said, was a donation from Mechelle Reynolds, owner of The Luxe Leopard in downtown Concordia. Reynolds went in to her stock room to find jewelry and gifts items, plus, Sister Beth says, “A lot of shoes that are so cute for the older girls. They will love them.”

The items for children are particularly needed, she said, because the Tree of Life Thrift Store shelves are completely empty of back-to-school clothes.

The Tree of Life Relief Agency in Mission, S.D., has been working with people of the Sioux Nation on the reservation since 1985.  Although it is sponsored by the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church, it is multi-denominational and cross-cultural. Through its Volunteers-in-Mission program, workers from more than a dozen denominations from across the United States spend time there every year.

Sister Beth first visited the reservation in the early 1990s, and since then she has collected blankets and organized small fundraisers for the Relief Agency. For this trip, she and Sister Susan Stoeber left Concordia today (Sept. 7) and will return later this week.





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