Okicyap. The word means "We Help."
Today is the day bidding starts for Okiciyap Quilt Auction; proceeds will benefit the Okiciyap Food Pantry on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
Bidding started in GreyHawk's Diary, and is continuing in the comments here!
If you were considering a bid, but it's already past what you can afford, please consider donating your desired bid directly to the pantry.
We've given voice to the voiceless, when the regular media has tried to silence them. I remember when this was one of the very rare places to get information about what was happening in New Orleans after Katrina. We helped ShelterBox to launch its humanitarian efforts after a devastating earthquake. We've sent care packages to our troops, half a world away. We've helped individual community members in a pinch. And we've consoled one another in times of grief.
The list is insanely long. I can't even begin to name all of the kindnesses that have emerged from this community. I find inspiring stories demonstrating ways to make this world a better place right here every day. We may be "words on a page" in the eyes of many, but it's clear from what's being shared that we are also "boots on the ground" helping to chip away at some of the most intractable problems of our times.
One of those problems is poverty, and some of the greatest pockets of poverty in this country are invisible - usually. But not here. This community has chosen to open its eyes and its hearts to the people who live on our nation's reservations - in particular, the Isabel Community on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.
There are other diaries discussing food, clothing, propane and heating oil, and myriad other things this community has helped with. I want to share about school supplies.
The Isabel community has had so few resources, that plain old everyday pencils were out of reach for many. Imagine arriving at school hungry and cold, and then having to slog your way through your classes without so much as a pencil, never mind a notebook in which to use it. Somehow, this image struck me to the core - a simple pencil is something even the poorest kids where I live can still take for granted. No matter how bad things may get in our local impoverished communities, a kid in school can still have a pencil with which to take notes, and paper on which to write those notes. The kind of community-wide poverty level that could result in a community being unable to provide those basic tools is unfathomable to me. I simply cannot imagine what it must be like.
It's a Dickensian level of deprivation, and it has led to an extreme sense of hopelessness among members of the community. That hopelessness has led to an epidemic level of suicides. Here's a chart from the North Dakota Department of Mental Health. Notice the difference in suicide rates among whites (blue bars) vs Native Americans (green bars):
When I learned about this, my heart ached. Sometimes, when something is too painful to look at, we look away, and let the knowledge fade. I wanted to look away, but I couldn't. To do so would inflict "the everyday brutality of the averted gaze" upon the people who needed me to keep my eyes open, to force myself to learn about the reality that people in this community live ... every ... single ... day.
My family has had some financial challenges in the last few years, but nothing ... and I mean nothing ... compared to the issues of long-term, multigenerational grinding poverty that the people of this community face.
When the call went out for school supplies, we did our little bit. My daughter and I sought out the best deal we could find on the binders the students would need (someone else had already handled pencils). We filled two shopping carts, clearing out the entire supply at the local off-price retailer. When the cashier asked what we were buying them for, she was thrilled to be able to help.
We then filled the entire back seat of the car with them, and headed to the nearest FedEx.
The young man behind the counter almost started crying when we answered the inevitable questions about why we were sending this mass of binders across the country. He had been employed in the local Home Depot when Hurricane Irene hit. At the store, he had waited on families who had lost everything in the massive flooding, and said he felt so helpless, since there really wasn't much he could do for them. He felt lost when there was nothing he could offer to friends and neighbors who came to the store looking for things that were sold out or destroyed in the flood. When aid had started arriving from all over the country, and these people received clothing, food, toiletries, and so much more, he said he swore he would pay it forward when he could.
Okiciyap gave him an opportunity to do just that.
He got the other customers through their transactions, then focused on how to get several cubic feet of folders into the smallest number of boxes possible. He wanted to make sure they could be shipped for as little as possible, to stay within our budget (he managed to get within $1.89 of the funds we had raised). He packed with great care. He didn't think it would be fair to send binders that were crumpled from being forced into the boxes. He was almost giddy when he finally managed to get them boxed, taped, labeled and ready to ship. Just that moment, alone, was enough to leave me grinning for days.
There is sooooo much more that needs to be done, and the needs of the community will not simply dissolve with a few donations, but donations will make it easier to meet those needs.
That's where this auction comes in. By bidding on the quilt, you can raise funds to help the Okiciyap food pantry continue its mission to kick poverty's butt. The pantry is more than just a provider of food and clothing. They have a mission far beyond basic sustenance. Currently, they are providing parenting classes, and they hope to do more in the future - bringing hope, strength, and resilience to a place where all three have been in short supply.
Auction rules, and more info below the orange doodle of hope.
OKICIYAP QUILT AUCTION RULES 2013
1) Auction begins on Wednesday, March 27th. Bids will first be accepted in the diary published that day by GreyHawk. The final day of the auction is Sunday, April 7, 2013, at approximately 7:00 p.m. CT. The last two+ hours of the auction will be held online from 5:00 p.m. central until 7 p.m. central in the DKQG diary. If no higher bids are posted by 7:10 p.m. the best bid before 7:00 p.m. central will be declared the winner.
1.1)The auction will end as soon as no higher bids are posted within 10 minutes of the highest bid received. Final bids will be decided by the time posted on the message. The decision of the judges on winning bid is final.
1.2)After the final bid is decided and the successful bidder notified, the donation to the pantry will be made, and once confirmed, BeadLady will send the quilt to the lucky winner! The pantry is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization, this donation will be tax deductable.
2) Bids will be accepted by making comments in diaries, as well as by kosmailing weck and/or glorificus at any time to make arrangements for anonymous or absentee bidding.
2.1) If you wish to remain anonymous, you may set that up with weck or glorificus in advance, and we will use a number when we post your bids in a diary. (example = Anon-02)
2.2) If you want to leave an absentee bid, you may do that with either weck or glorificus. We will need to know the highest amount you are willing to bid and we will place those bids for you in 10 dollar increments as the bidding progresses throughout the auction. If the bidding goes higher than you first authorized, you may contact the same person again with a new top limit, or bid in the diaries. Absentee bids should be
placed with weck or glorificus as far in advance as possible.
3) Bidding by groups or organizations is allowed, as long as only one contact name is used. Please let us know the details of your group or organization and who is the official spokesperson for the group or organization.
4) Bidding is in minimum increments of $10.00. You may bid in higher increments that can be divided evenly by $10.00.
4.1) Bids must be in U.S. funds.
5) weck and glorificus will do their best to inform all bidders of the newest high bid. To receive this information in you Kosmail box, please ask weck or glorificus to join Daily Kos Quilt Guild Auction Alliance group.
5.1) We will send groupmail to everyone (Each member will be made an editor for the duration of the auction) Reminder*A groupmail won't show up on your main page; you will have to check for messages manually.*
6) A PayPal link will be included for other donations to Okiciyap. While we cherish the thought that you may choose to donate to Okiciyap during the auction, there is no advantage in the auction to doing that. It is not necessary to donate through the PayPal to Okiciyap to participate in the auction. To use the paypal link, click on the link that goes to the Okiciyap Pantry's new website. http://okiciyap.weebly.com/...
7) The winning bidder can make payment arrangements that are not through PayPal with weck or glorificus. We know that some folks don't use Paypal.
8) The winning bidder will have 48 hours to confirm their success. After 48 hours, the judges may, at their discretion, offer the second highest bidder the opportunity to redeem the quilt. The decision of the judges is final.