Giving Back

Gena Bloemendaal
A brand new women's shelter, the realization of a decade of intensive fundraising and planning, stands as a beacon of hope for abused women and children in one of the poorest areas in the United States.

Located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the shelter is the latest effort by Karen Artichoker and the 52 staff members of Changleska (chang-LESH-ka),

an organization dedicated to the eradication of domestic violence on the reservation. "Abuse is very common here," says Artichoker, "We live in an area of extreme poverty. With an 80% alcohol addiction rate, poor housing and lack of a good transportation system, it's hard to get ahead."

Since the shelter is dependent on grants and donations, there's very little money available to provide the clothing and basic living supplies so desperately needed by the women and children who spend time there. Perhaps there are a few unfinished projects lingering in your sewing room, or you have enough leftover fabric to make one of the items listed at right.

In addition to the items listed, the shelter is in need of basic sewing supplies and notions, such as thread, fabric, needles, embroidery items, quilting frames, scissors, rotary-cutting supplies, etc.

Artichoker says the new shelter was designed to "make women feel comfortable staying longer." She says having basic provisions, such as clothes and blankets, adds to that comfort level. She wants the women to quilt and sew together and to pass those skills to the next generation.

Do a clean sweep of your sewing room to aid battered women and children.

The new Cangleska shelter is a 7,800 square-foot safe haven that can house up to 36 women and children at any given time. Pictured here under the final stages of construction, the women's shelter opened in early May, 2007.

What's needed:
  • Women and children's clothing, all sizes & maternity
  • Towels
  • Bedding, blankets, quilts, pillowcases
  • Slippers
  • Stuffed animals
  • Bibs, burp cloths, changing pads
  • Braided rugs
  • Hats, scarves, mittens
  • Draft stoppers
  • Receiving blankets, layettes, diaper bags
  • Hand bags, totes, cosmetic bags


Send any of the sewn items listed above to Cangleska, Inc., Box 638, Kyle, SD 57752 (or use the street address of #1 Public Safety Road). The shelter is also in need of child-friendly sewing items (plastic canvas, yarn, plastic needles), as well as purchased items (towels, undergarments, disposable diapers, etc.). Monetary donations are also welcome. To learn more, visit or

If you have a volunteer effort you'd like to share with our readers, send your story (or fill out the questionnaire at and photos to Giving Back, Sew News, 741 Corporate Circle, Ste. A, Golden, CO 80401. Photos can't be returned. Featured charities receive a copy of Creative Kindness by Nancy Zieman and Gail Brown and the companion video. Learn more about these products at

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