Pine Ridge Reservation Backpack / Coat Drive 2011

**UPDATED 11/3**

Help Aidan Stolz, a second grader from Fort Collins, Colorado, provide coats for a Native American school in Manderson, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Aidan Stolz and his family are collecting winter coats and warm clothing for the Wounded Knee school in Manderson, South Dakota. Last years drive provided thousands of winter clothing for the reservation communities.

Donations can include backpacks, warm clothing (sweaters, coats, snow suits, boots, shoes, gloves, & hats), socks, school supplies (pencils, crayons, markers, rulers, glue, notebooks…etc), and any other items that you feel might help.

Donations can be shipped to Henry Red Cloud at the following address:

Lakota Solar Enterprises
1001 Solar Warrior Road, Highway 18
Pine Ridge, South Dakota 57770

See the Pine Ridge Coat Drive 2011 Flyer for more information.

Contact Aidan with any questions

Email -

Phone - 970-988-1186

A Letter from the Stolz Family

Greetings from the Stolz Family!

We hope you all doing well, staying warm with the latest snow fall, and ready to listen to Aidan’s newest pledge for helping others. I should start by saying this is not a new pledge, rather, we asked him to give us some reprieve so we could build a little momentum to help him. As many of you know, Aidan launched a coat drive last fall for his friends that he volunteered for on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. It was an enormous success, thanks to you all. More importantly, the process taught all of us in the Stolz Family the true meaning of helping and giving. Aidan distributed nearly 3,000 coats because of your generous donations and we are very grateful for the donations.

While he was there, he had the opportunity to see what all of you provided first-hand, which was compassion, love, and hope for others. One little boy close to Aidan’s age caught his attention. He followed this boy around the coats and helped him find a pair of warm gloves. The boy tried on several pairs before settling on a green pair, looked at Aidan, and said, “I’ve never had gloves before.” Aidan reached down into the box of gloves, grabbed a black pair and said, “Now you have two pairs.” The distribution process was very chaotic and eye opening for Aidan. He was aware of the impoverished conditions but he wasn’t aware of the epidemic: Pine Ridge Reservation is the second poorest area in the Western Hemisphere behind Haiti.

Immediately he felt like he needed to do more. He also began to question why basic amenities, like warm clothing, were provided for him but not everyone. He understood the United States to be a land of opportunity and he wondered what opportunities these children would have as they became adults. He has struggled with this for months. Aidan carries a lot of grief on his shoulders. His heart is bigger than his body and frankly his dedication to others is unbelievable. Many people ask if this whole production is motivated by us (his parents) and we can honestly answer that question with a simple no. All he has asked us to do is support his efforts and we will continue to do just that for our son.

During the summer months, Aidan started to plan his next drive. Initially he wanted to launch a book drive because he learned the Reservation had only one library shared between 42,000 people with little resources. That idea transformed into helping the schools’ libraries across the Reservation but he felt like he was taking on a daunting task and whatever he did, he wanted to make sure he succeeded and not let his friends down on the Reservation. He asked his friends at Trees, Water, & People for additional help and they came through with a list of people that needed help. With help from a good friend, he found a school in Manderson, South Dakota where children go to school each and every day without warm clothing, without pencils, without backpacks. Aidan wondered what hope, if any, they had for the future.

And then the light bulb turned on! With the help of his parents and a great friend at TWP, he contacted Lisa Steele with the Wounded Knee School District, learned the school had 140 students from Kindergarten through 8th grade in desperate need of basic amenities, and decided exactly what he would be collecting this year! He came to me and said, “Mom, if I can give them a little break (meaning opportunity), maybe they can find hope for their future.” Again he thought about all the items he could not provide for them that he has at his school like a smart board in every class, a library stocked with the best books, or a brand new computer lab. However, he said this is what I can do, it might not be much but at least it is something!

And now I turn this over to all of you with the hope that you will reach deep into your hearts and help fulfill a 7 year olds pledge to do right by others. Aidan is trying to collect 140 backpacks, warm clothing (Lisa Steele suggests sweaters but coats, snow suits, boots, shoes, gloves, & hats are just fine too), socks, school supplies (pencils, crayons, markers, rulers, glue, notebooks…etc), and any other items that you feel might help. Aidan launched this drive to his school today. They are all eager and willing to help and we are very grateful for their support and dedication. Last week he added Target Stores to his list of donators. They donated 20 backpacks on his behalf. Gently used items are wonderful! He will take whatever you are willing to donate!!

There is an attached flyer he would like all of you to read. It has some beautiful pictures of last year’s distribution and the people you all helped! McGraw IB Elementary, along with Trees, Water, People, & our home will serve as drop off locations in the Fort Collins area. For our address, please contact us directly. We are also willing to pick up any items at homes around the Fort Collins area. For Denver residents, please deliver items to any AirLife Facility. Canon City residents may deliver their items to the school Administration building on main street.

Lastly, we would like to take this time to extend our gratitude to each and every one of you. We are so blessed to have so many friends and family who support our children. We are surrounded by loving and compassionate individuals and we are extremely thankful. Both our sons only know love and support and have never experienced the dire conditions that our friends up North consume every day. Please make a difference in their lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment