This year our sangha was able to make a donation to the Shivwits Toy Drive. It’s been a continuous wish on my part to find a way to connect to our Native American neighbors to the West, and to commingle this with Dana Paramita (the perfection of Generosity). Thank you for your willingness to make this possible.
This morning, my husband Patrick got to go on a hike beside the petroglyphs at the Anasazi Valley Trailhead. The hike was led by Glenn Rogers, from the Shivwits Band of the Paiute Tribe. Glenn offers these hikes periodically to tell the stories of the petroglyphs, point out native plants, and talk about the cultural history of his people. These hikes are also an opportunity to raise funds for the Shivwits Toy Drive.
How did this get started? When Glenn was a young man he remembers seeing families at Christmas, whose children would have the same recycled, often broken toys for children’s gifts year after year and that left an impression that has stuck with him. At some point those memories came back to him and he approached the owners of the M&S Turquoise, where he works, about undertaking a toy drive.
While it continues to be called a toy drive it also provides a wide range of support for an extended community. Priority services are broadly arranged in the following ways. Gifts are first allocated to the Shivwits Band then the Kanosh Band to the north and the Kaibab Band around Kanab. After that it is other Native American people and Hispanics in the area. Gifts are organized around groupings such as toddler – 5 years, 6 – 12 years, and then junior/high school age. The last group are given gift cards so that they can purchase what is most meaningful to them.
Other notes of interest. A donation of brand new coats this year have already been given out so that they could be put to use now, as they are needed immediately. Through contacts at the local Native American resource center, ten specific native families in Albuquerque were given assistance this year. No donations are ever carried over. When cash is available shopping trips are made to Walmart for hams and turkeys which are then distributed. If gently used clothing is donated and not given as gifts they will be distributed as give-aways at community center holiday events.
So here’s a little more history – many reasons for supporting this cause, in a season of generosity and blessings of light!