The Cheyenne River Youth Project’s 2023 Wo Otúh’an Wi Toy Drive is now officially under way, and the grassroots, nonprofit organization is reaching out to hundreds of families on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation to ensure that their children’s wishes come true this holiday season.
The annual toy drive is open to all members of CRYP’s Family Services program, and during the month of October, the youth project is offering new memberships and renewals for the discounted rate of $25. This special offer will end on Tuesday, Oct. 31.
A single membership covers all household members for 12 months, and it provides access to school supplies, winter clothing, shoes, household and baby items, food, and of course the Wo Otúhan Wi Toy Drive.
When a family obtains or renews a Family Services membership, they will receive“Wish Lists” for each child in their household. CRYP will share those lists with supporters across the country, and in December, the family will be able to pick up holiday gifts that were specifically chosen for their children.
This massive, nationwide initiative is deeply grounded in the traditional Lakota values of generosity and caring for others. Wo Otúh’an Wi means “ Moon of Giving Away Presents” in the Lakota language, and according to CRYP Executive Director Julie Garreau, it recognizes the significance of the winter solstice and the traditional Lakota values of generosity and caring for others.
“When we give gifts to our children, we are giving them so much more than toys,” she explained. “We are showing them how precious they are to us, and we are sharing hope, joy, warmth and light during winter’s darkest month.”
All Wo Otúh’an Wi Wish Lists must be returned to the youth project no later than Wednesday, Nov. 15 so sponsors have time to adopt the lists, shop for gifts, and ship the packages to CRYP. Once the packages arrive, staff and volunteers will prepare them for distribution to Cheyenne River’s families.
“The earlier our families return their children’s Wish Lists to us, the earlier we can get to work on fulfilling those special holiday wishes,” said Jerica Widow, CRYP’s programs director. “Every year, we serve between 1,000 and 1,500 children; it’s a huge project, but our donors, partners, staff and volunteers all come together and work hard to make it happen.”
Local families should contact CRYP at (605) 964-8200 or in person at 101 E. Lincoln St. at their earliest convenience to sign up for Family Services or renew their membership for 2024. Again, the discounted membership rate is good through Oct. 31, and all Wish Lists must be returned by Nov. 15.
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, Instagram, and YouTube.
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.