November 14, 2022

Southwest Missouri Indian Center seeks donations for toy, food drive

The Southwest Missouri Indian Center is a non-profit organization that supports Native American families. The center provides a variety of services for local low-income Native American families.
“We serve 21 counties so we do a food-bank and (provide) clothing, but we also do cultural awareness,” said Falcon. “So we teach classes, and then we also do drum (classes) and dance classes are coming.”
According to the Director of SWMIC Esther Eby, the center has coordinated more cultural programs in the past, including shawl-making, drum-making and moccasin making.
SWMIC is involved with the Indian Health Service and is working to be trained on Indian Child Welfare. IHS is an agency that provides health services to Native Americans. ICW seeks to help Native American children in accordance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.
“We’re helping with IHS in Springfield and then we do have a person that's coming in to get us trained on ICW,” said Falcon. “We’re the only sanctioned Indian center within southwest Missouri besides Kansas City.”
The center is holding a toy and food drive, but they have not received contributions from their regular donors. The new Chairman of the Board, Chante Falcon, said it may be the effect of past mistakes. Falcon said that the center was not treating people the way that they should have been treated.
“I think it was just because of how the old Indian Center was ran,” said Falcon. “There were a lot of things that weren’t being done correctly, so, (we’re) revamping, getting new people in there to be able to actually show the community that we’re here to help.”
SWMIC is in need of donations for its toy and food drive. The food donations will feed the families the center provides for.
Eby said that the drive is accepting all food, frozen or canned and dry products, but that the organization does need a lot of canned food.
One way to help this organization is by visiting them to find out what specifically is needed.
“Do a face-to-face with us because we would really enjoy people coming in and finding out more about us,” said Eby.
The center is having a Christmas party for children involved with the organization on Dec. 3. The toy donations received will be gifted to the children at the Christmas party. The party will host kids ages zero to seventeen years old, so gifts for all ages are welcome.
The drive is being held in hopes of bringing the community back together and to help meet needs of families in the community.
“We’re doing the toy and food drive just to bring the community back together even if you’re not Native,” said Falcon. “We’re still trying to spread awareness to those people that we’re here and we never left.”
Donations can be made to 543 S. Scenic Ave., where the SWMIC is located.
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