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Welcome to the Camp Blog:

The village behind the donations

Every day donations are delivered to the Franklin Hiawatha encampment and it's off-site donation partners, Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, Division of Indian Work and Gichitwaa Kateri Catholic Church. Donations that arrive at the camp are distributed immediately because there is no storage available at the encampment. Donations arriving at the partner locations are sorted, washed when necessary, and hung up or shelved for a more 'shopping-like' experience for camp residents. Items for which there is a surplus go into a storage pod on site at MIWRC.

The generosity of the Twin Cities community has been a thing to behold. Over 200 tents, hundreds and hundreds of blankets, and more clothes than one could ever hope to count have made their way through the hands of staff and volunteers and into the possession of those in need. Neighborhood companies like Allina initiated employee drives that created hundreds of personal care kits filled with hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, and razors. Thousands of cases of bottled water have passed through the hands of Natives Against Heroin volunteers at the encampment.

The staff and volunteers who spend hours every week accepting, sorting and distributing donations are some of the unsung heroes in the story of the Franklin Hiawatha encampment - so lets sing their praises now. A big shout out to Karen Joy at MN Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC) for keeping a bird's eye view; to Denise (food shelf manager) and Shanah (programs manager) at Division of Indian Work for cheerful collaboration; to Shawn Phillips at Gichitwaa Kateri Church for being there since Day 1; To Mary and Leroy at MIWRC (for washing, sorting and doing lots of heavy lifting), and to Salvador, building manager at MIWRC, for accepting the odd-hours donations. Thanks as well to the lovely Jan and Gladys for taking calls and directing traffic; and finally our gratitude goes out to all the generous donors who have shared so much and made life at the camp so much better!

Karen Joy was hired by Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center to oversee the collection, management and distribution of donations. She is deeply committed to creating a dignified experience for camp residents and has put an incredible effort into creating a store-like atmosphere where people can browse and select the clothing and other items that best suit their needs.

Members of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, seen here helping out at the Division of Indian Work. A similar set up can be found at Gichitwaa Kateri Church - where the camp's non-perishable food items are stored.

The Division of Indian Work van driver, who picks up residents at the encampment and brings them to the Division of Indian Work to "shop" for clothes and other necessities.

Sorted clothes awaiting a new home at the encampment.

Non-perishable food items at Gichitwaa Kateri Church

Towels and winter hats!

For information about how to donate items to the encampment visit the Franklin Hiawatha encampment website homepage and click on Donations.

Posted by Camille and Karen Joy

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