The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced that it will be starting its Wo Otúh’an Wi Toy Drive deliveries to local families in just a few days. For the first time, the nonprofit youth organization will handle these holiday deliveries curbside (2018 photo).

CRYP staff will begin making calls this Friday, Dec. 18, to schedule specific dates and times for participating families to pick up their boxes of gifts. When each family arrives for their scheduled pickup, staff members will bring the gifts to the car.

“Given the current Covid-19 outbreak on the Cheyenne River reservation, this is for the safety of our families and our staff,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We’d like to assure our families that they do not need to contact us, or come up to the campus on their own; we will call them to schedule their specific delivery day and time.”

Garreau also noted that deliveries likely will continue through the Christmas holiday, and possibly past New Year’s as well. Community members should follow CRYP’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LakotaYouth for the latest updates.

“We’re working as fast as we can, but our situation is evolving from day to day — and often from hour to hour,” she said. “Among other challenges, we have a small staff, and we don’t have any volunteer support for the first time in 30 years. Like all of us, Santa Claus clearly is facing challenges with the ongoing pandemic too, but he is still coming.

“We’re grateful to our community for their patience and understanding, and we also wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to our partners and donors, who are continuing to offer their support and strength as we navigate this unprecedented holiday season,” she continued. “There is so much need this year. We are honored that you would choose us.”

It’s not too late to support this year’s Wo Otúh’an Wi Toy Drive, and according to Garreau, there are so many different ways to help. You can purchase raffle tickets and enter to win the authentic, handmade Lakota star quilt “Sugar Plum” via lakotayouth.org/win-a-star-quilt. You can adopt a “Dear Santa” letter through our CRYP post office at lakotayouth.org/product/dear-santa-letters-2020. 

You also may purchase toys directly from its Amazon wish list, or make a financial contribution. For more information, visit lakotayouth.org/toy-drive.

“Every contribution, no matter the size, will ensure that approximately hundreds of children receive what they so richly deserve,” Garreau said. “A very special holiday filled with magic, joy, and perhaps most important this year, hope.”

To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.

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