Senior project brings winter warmth to those who need it most

Having grown up amid clothing drives for neighboring reservations through her church, Wessington Springs High School senior Cheyenne Burg was drawn to the idea of helping the people of Crow Creek and Lower Brule as part of her senior project. 

“After doing research and reading about how hard life is on the reservation, it really pushed me to want to do this project,” Burg said. “My project mentor, Julie Kaus, explained that when winter items are donated to our nearby Crow Creek and Lower Brule Reservations, all items are gone within 10 minutes.”  

Burg decided to take on a winter clothing drive, silent auction and free will meal to not only collect winter clothing and bedding for kids and adults of Lower Brule and Crow Creek but also raise funds for organizations focused on local family needs including the Blue Bag Backpack Program and the local food pantry in Jerauld County. 

With lofty goals and a desire to help those in need, Burg set out to plan and organize her project, but it didn’t come without its challenges. 

“Asking for donations was a stretch for me, it was uncomfortable asking people and businesses to donate silent auction items. But we ended up having 30 silent auction items and it was a success,” she said, adding that she was surprised by the vast amount of gently used clothing that was generously donated. “Setting up supper, moving tables, putting out the auction items and getting bid sheets ready was stressful but it was worth it. We raised $2200 which will be divvied out locally to groups that help local families.” 

With a weather shift on the horizon and a trailer full of winter gear, Burg is headed west to Lower Brule and Crow Creek later this week, to make a special delivery, the gift of warmth.

Photo: WSHS senior Cheyenne Burg coordinated a winter clothing drive for the people of Crow Creek and Lower Brule reservations as part of her senior project. She is pictured in front of the trailer-full of gently-used items she collected during her project.