Archive for the ‘CAUSES’ Category

The full issue can be purchased at this link:

https://tinyurl.com/y7cnnrqt

The feature of this issue is about the Community Zen Center we are trying to fund in Hawkins Texas. This is an effort to provide a center for the community to learn about positive change issues like Gardening, Renewable Energy, Art creation and communal networking through events like shared meals & movie and game nights.

The center has a dedicated fundraiser page and blog here:
https://freehelpinghands.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/hawkins-tx-community-center-fundraiser/

360 Images Can be seen here:

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HHN is currently raising $50k to solve poverty problems in East Texas by establishing an educational Center for the Arts via https://www.gofundme.com/HawkinsIC

 

The Giving Pledge is the leading source of current information on large scale Philanthropy. https://givingpledge.org/

This Blog is our record of small details regarding the Billionaires efforts and interests as well as those of others not listed on the Giving Pledge.

 

The Helping Hands Network is often alerted to Causes in need and we use this master list to help match the Causes with the contacts listed below that can provide the help needed! 

 

 

 

Bill & Melinda Gates @BillGates — $28 BILLION

To the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To improve poverty. In developing countries, we focus on improving people’s health and wellbeing, helping individuals lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, we seek to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—can access the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

*PLEASE share/post – #HHN is improving #poverty in East #Texas by raising $50k to establish an educational Center for the Arts via https://www.gofundme.com/HawkinsIC #Help #HelpingHands

 

Warren Buffett Warren@BerkshireHathaway.com — $27.5 BILLION+
To the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Susan Thompson Buffett FoundationSherwood FoundationHoward G. Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation.

*PLEASE share/post – #HHN is improving #poverty in East #Texas by raising $50k to establish an educational Center for the Arts via https://www.gofundme.com/HawkinsIC #Help – the #HelpingHands founder is a #Berkshire Stock holder

 

Jeff Bezos @JeffBazos —  $??

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/06/15/jeff-bezos-amazon-philanthropy/102896058/

 

Actress Jami Gertz and her husband Antony Ressler — $10,569,002

To the Ressler Gertz Foundation. Grants from the foundation include $1.7 million to the LA County Museum of Art, $400k to Cedar Sinai Medical Center.

 

Musician Herb Alpert –$9,104,829

To the Herb Alpert Foundation, which focuses on the arts, compassion, and well being.

 

Actor Mel Gibson — $6,853,020

To the A.P. Reilly Foundation, which he started to support Holy Family Church.

 

Director, Producer, Writer, George Lucas — $4,250,000 

To Lucas Film Foundation then granted to The George Lucas Educational Foundation with a mission to inspire and empower young people to become responsible citizens, compassionate leaders, and to live their dream.

 

Writer Nora Roberts — $3,000,000

To the Nora Roberts Foundation, which support literacy. Additional areas of focus are: children’s programs, arts organizations, and humanitarian efforts, with local organizations being its priority.

 

NFL Player Ndamukong Suh — $2,600,000

$2 million to the Nebraska University athletic department and another $600,000 to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering to endow a scholarship. It is the largest single gift ever from a former football player.

*PLEASE share/post – #HHN is improving #poverty in East #Texas by establishing an educational Center for the Arts via https://www.gofundme.com/HawkinsIC #Help – the #HelpingHands founder is a Husker Athletic alumni

 

MLB Player Lance Berkman and his wife Cara — $2,412,245

To The Lord’s Fund, a foundation they established.  Grants include $400k to Josiah Venture, a Christian youth movement in Eastern Europe, and $113k to Children’s Cup, a Christian organization focusing on “forgotten children” in Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and efforts are also underway in Vietnam and the Philippines.. Most of their giving is to Christian-based organizations.

Actress Meryl Streep and her husband Donald Gummer — $2,000,000

To Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts, a foundation they established.  Grants include $100k each to Oxfam America and Partners in Health; $1,225,000 to Vassar College. Total grantmaking for the year was more than $2.1 million.

Television Producer Marcia Carsey and her husband John Carsey — $1,870,000

To Carsey Family Foundation they established. Grants include $250k to Media Matters for America, $100k to Institute for America’s Future, $50k to Progressive Talent Initiative.

Simpsons’ Co-Creator Sam Simon — $1,800,000

To The Sam Simon Foundation to “save the lives of dogs to enrich the lives of people.”  The Foundation manages a number of programs including a mobile veterinary unit, dogs for veterans, and dogs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld — $1,766,000

To the Seinfeld Family Foundation that supports education, children’s services, health associations, and Jewish organizations; funding also for the arts.

Actress Barbra Streisand — $1,555,500

To the Barbra Streisand Foundation.  Grants are distributed to a variety of charities and causes including the Barbra Streisand Women’s Cardiovascular Research and Education Program at Cedars Sinai, City Year, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, respectively.

Actor Matthew McConaughey — $1,537,292

To the Just Keep Livin’ Foundation that he established. Grants distributed include $88,000 to Communities in School Los Angeles West and $38,000 Communities in School Central Texas.

Writers Dean and Gerda Koontz — $1,500,000

To the Dean and Gerda Koontz Foundation. Grants include $750,000 to Canine Companions for Independence and $500,000 to Saint Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, CA.

Model Gisele Bundchen — $1,500,000

To the Red Cross for Haiti Relief.

Writer Isabel Allende — $1,017,247

To the Isabel Allende Foundation to support charities that empower and protect women.  Founded in honor of her daughter, Paula Frias who passed away at 28. Grants include $500,000 to Oritel, which provides human services for low income families and $30,500 to the Global Fund for Women.

Actor Alec Baldwin — $1,005,131

To the Alec Baldwin Foundation. Grants include $50,000 to the NY Philharmonic, $42,500 to Waterkeeper Alliance, and $250,000 to the Carol M Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Actress Sandra Bullock — $1,000,000

To Doctors Without Borders for Haiti Relief following the devastating earthquake.

NFL Player Eli Manning and his wife Abby — $1,000,000

To the University of Mississippi’s Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship, which allows prospective students with an adjusted gross family income at or below $30,000 to attend the University of Mississippi.

Actress Will and Jada Smith — $900,000

To the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation.  Grants included $126,000 to the Lupus Foundation, $200,000 to the Baltimore School for the Arts, and $52,000 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner — $900,000

To Trust for Public Land to save the iconic Hollywood sign from being plowed under in order to make room for four luxury homes.

NBA Player Carmelo Anthony — $837,200

To Carmelo Anthony Foundation. Grants include $500,000 to Syracuse University and $302,000 to The Living Classroom Foundation.

Cyclist and seven-time winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong — $700,648

To The LiveStrong Foundation, which he founded to improve the lives of people with cancer.

Writers Jonathan and Faye Kellerman — $627,700

To Jonathan and Faye Kellerman Foundation. Grants include $175,000 for Children’s Hospital of LA, $150,000 to USC/Kellerman Endowment, $25,000 to Boston Institute of Music.

MLB Player Mariano Rivera — $627,500

To the Mariano Rivera Foundation. Grants distributed included $150,000 to the Church of God Prophecy and $50,000 to the Brooklyn Tabernacle.

Singer/Songwriter Taylor Swift — $625,000

$500k to Hands on Nashville the Community Foundation of Middle Tennesee for Nashville’s flood relief efforts (Nashville Rising);  $25,000 to the Wyomissing, PA school district for educational $100,000 check to rebuild Kids Kingdom, a playground in Hendersonville, Tennesee where she attended high school.

Daniel and Cara Whitney (Larry the Cable Guy) — $550,020

To Git-R-Done Foundation. Grants include $500,000 to the Child Advocacy Center and $525,000 to the Madonna Foundation.

Artist Jasper Johns — $500,000

To Low Road Foundation he established.  Grants distributed include $50,000 to the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Golfer Davis Love — $424,379

To the Davis Love III Foundation, which he established.  Grants distributed include $479,000 to the St. Presbyterian Church, $100,000 to Frederica Academy, $75,000 to Special Olympics, and $75,000 to Boys and Girls Club of Southeast GA.

Actress Victoria Principal — $342,665

To Victoria Principal Foundation. Grants distributed include $25,000 to Greenpeace Fund, $125,000 to Natural Resource Defense Council, $100,000 to Oceana.

 

UPDATED: 4/8/18

 

 

No, not that thing our leader talks about that is demolishing our nation’s tourism industry. I’m talking about a wall to keep an elderly family warm this winter.

 

Today we were told a story about an elderly Hawaiian in Texas that had no running water so she was driving back and forth 5 miles to the local lake to fill up buckets. Right away we went to meet her and connect her with neighbors that would deliver her water until the plumbing was fixed. Next, we removed the foundation covering, dug out the flooded rubbish, dried up the crawl space and found the ruptured pipes.

After a few attempts, we replaced the needed parts with success, loaded up to leave and went to update the nice lady. Lani Burns then takes me around back and asks “can you do anything about this?”

 

So, over the next few weeks will are raising money to cover the costs for lumber, insulation, plastic sheeting, plywood, screws, dump fee’s and volunteer lunches and transportation.

 

If you can help, re-share this flyer and/or paypal to: tfrentz@hotmail.com

Blessings to all,
T

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

UPDATES:

On 2/1/18 we clear cut the tree’s around the work area and the local mission and churches submitted their first round of collections totaling $105!  Thank you to all those who are assisting this effort either by funding, volunteering or re-sharing on social media. Blessings.

 

 

2/13/18

We swept off the patio and delivered the first round of lumber.

 

2/16/18

Today we purchased materials and delivered them. We demolished the rotten soffit, installed edge metal trim, removed siding, removed the rotten materials, installed a brace to improve the wall stability and covered the wall with moisture barrier.

3/3/18

Today we were joined by FUMC Pastor Brian as we added some wall studs and framed in the first window. We are ready to insulate and sheet the first section on the far right.

 

 

3/10/18

This week we installed more wall studs, installed the first window, insulated and hung the first 10 feet of wall board with moisture barrier!!!

3/17

Volunteers from First United Methodist cleaned up the yard!!!

 

3/24

We replaced the 3rd section of the floor joist under the double windows. We are ready to finish the wall studs for the 3rd section and ready to frame in the double windows.

 

3/31 – This week we removed the last of the demo debris to prepare for the last of the framing. We then completed the framing and everything is ready for insulation and wallboard.

 

4/8/18

This week we prepped the windows, installed the insulation and covered up the wall with the wall board. One more work day left on this project. Next time we will install the siding and build the stairs.

4/14/18

We installed the old siding.

Here are 3 projects left that are waiting for volunteers. If you are interested in helping out, please message us to schedule a time. Debris needs removed. The air conditioner can be installed and the steps can be built.

 

 

 

EXPENSES

The following have sponsored this cause so far!

Peter Craine – www.crainerealty.net
*Interesting fact: Mr. Craine was processing the fact that he had just lost his phone and still opened his wallet while suffering the on coming panic attack. Thank you sir.

 

Greg Mordue – GM Construction http://GregMordue.wordpress.com

GM has been a HHN Corporate sponsor for over 2 years now!

 

Vanessa Price – Cade Republic
http://www.caderepublic.com/
Vanessa is distributing the flyer on the ground IN HONOLULU!!! Thank you very much.

 

Rose – Helping Hands Mission Coordinator
Thank you for submitting Lani’s Cause to us.

 

Helping Hand Hawkins Volunteers –

The local Helping Hand Mission volunteers have raised $145 as of 2/1/18

 

Zion Church Hawkins –

The local Zion Church has collected $10 as of 2/16/18

 

First United Methodist Church Hawkins –

The emergency support group coordinator at FUMC is Kathy Mordue. Their group has pledged to fund the remaining needs of this project! $500 was deposited 3/9 and it should cover the final costs. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FUMC! 

The cold weather is allowing me extra time in the studio and it feels great to get caught up on the HHN publishing.

2016 was so full of excitement that issue #12 will include 2 extra pages! It will be published tomorrow, Thursday January 18, 2018. Here is a sneak peak. I hope it continues to inspire everyone to support the Helping Hands Network and all the causes we sponsor.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Full Issue in Kindle Format available here:  https://tinyurl.com/ybqmgdmp

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We have been focusing on fundraising so fiercely the past 3 years that we let the graphic comic novel books get behind schedule. During the holiday break and the cold weather we have been working hard to get caught up. The 2015 issue will be ready very soon. Here is a sneak peek at what is coming.

For those who prefer the Kindle format version, here is the link to purchase all our books via Amazon.    https://tinyurl.com/ybqmgdmp

 

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(Hawkins, Texas) THE EAST TEXAS TOWN OF HAWKINS IS ESTABLISHING A LEADING COMMUNITY PRESENCE TO DEFEAT POVERTY.

The Helping Hands Network (HHN) founder has spent 2 years building a support network in the East Texas community of Hawkins Texas. Business partners have been established; volunteers have been organized and trained; and now a community Education center is ready to be developed.

First option to purchase the community center property has been offered to HHN and they need to raise $35,000 to finance and improve it.

 

(You can visit this link on FLIKR to scroll your cursor and look around the studio space!)
https://tinyurl.com/ycxr3tdj

The location of the property is perfect for the newest HHN addition because there are several groups working together to improve the impoverished neighborhood.

The Hawkins / Holy Lake Ranch area churches work together to support one central Helping Hand Mission to provide food, shelter and household emergency items to those in need. This mission is one block from the HHN education center.

The Hawkins area Chamber of Commerce is developing a business incubator location to provide job training to help improve the poverty and homeless problems. This location is 2 blocks from the HHN site.

The City of Hawkins has developed a community park with updated features on the same street as the HHN site.

There is a partnering motel on the same street that can provide emergency shelter to those homeless during disaster relief situations.

The HHN is working with these groups by providing business skill training, survival workshops, wellness classes and other wonderful events at the community education center property. The two story complex is perfect for the program.

 

(You can pause the youtube video & drag your cursor to look around the property.)

The upper level provides office space, storage and a wellness studio where visitors have events like yoga and movie/game nights. The lower level will be developed for emergency shelter, group meals, classroom training and art studio space. A community garden is in the second year of growth on the surrounding property.

IF enough money is not raised by March 2018, the property will be sold to the public and the community center and garden program will be forced to start over so please donate if you can. Direct deposits via paypal ID (tfrentz @ hotmail) are preferred to accelerate the processing time. 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

SPONSOR AWARD DETAILS

ANY gifted amount receives 6 FREE Tech/Computer Consulting Service Calls

$100+ receives a free home repair valued up to 25% of the amount gifted AND 5% off any item listed on our eBay store per $100 gifted. Visit http://myworld.ebay.com/Frentzs 

$500+ receives a 25% discount on 6 home repair service calls & 6 free tech services.  

$1000+ receives a 25% discount on 12 home repair service calls & 12 free tech services AND a voting seat on the Education Center Board of Directors.

Visit http://myworld.ebay.com/Frentzs 

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Amazon Seller services has the absolute worst customer service we have ever encountered.

The best way to help them improve is to share negative reviews like this one with all of your network.

AMAZON SELLER SERVICES is SO PISS POOR because they rely on Artificial Intelligence and Auto generated algorithms to respond to customer trouble tickets.

In our dealings with this service, we filed 5 identical trouble tickets and received a wide variety of responses. The responses were often not relevant to our complaint. Some of the responses even came from a department in Canada.

The problem with our sales account started when we sold an item on amazon but the physical item was sold earlier that day before we could unlist it. We refunded the online buyer but the auto generated system suspended our account anyway.

We could not access our inventory to unlist our items and the Amazon system is not setup to remove the listings either. This resulted in another item selling with no way for us to notify the buyer or send them a refund.

 

While all of this is happening, we are submitting trouble tickets to report the issues.

We received the following paraphrased replies:

1.) We are reviewing your account and you will not be able to sell. Please provide a Utility bill and any sales related documents to help us decide if you may sell on Amazon again.

2.)  In response to our files being submitted, we get this response FROM AMAZON.CA (That’s CANADA support NOT .com USA) …. “Let us know how we did. Were you satisfied with the support provided?”

HAHAHA – seriously??? All the remaining follow up replies also come from Amazon.CA

3.) This is an auto reminder… we need more information to resolve your case. If you still need assistance, please respond to this message. If we have resolved your issue, take no further action and we will close your case.

SO WE RESPOND and we get #4.

4.) We have not heard from you so your case has been closed. If you still need further support please contact us.

OMG – this is getting ridiculous.

 

5.) Please view the open cases section in your seller account to read our response to your support request.

SO WE DID and get a notice that our request was denied and we can not sell on Amazon.

 

6.) So we open a second account and the system says it will review our account information before activating the new account.

AND WE GET the same responses as #1-5 all over again!!!

 

GAME OVER! WE GIVE UP AND PUBLISH THIS BLOG TO EXPOSE THEIR PISS POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.

 

7.)  10/20/17 – We email Amazon CEO Bazos – Jeff@Amazon.com with this story.

8.) 10/27/17 – He has an Amazon Seller Manager email us with a basic hello. She says….

“My name is Nithya, and I’m a member of the Amazon.com Seller Performance Team.  Jeff Bezos received your email and requested that I research this issue and respond on his behalf.”

SHE THEN GOES ON TO SIMPLY COPY AND PASTE THE PREVIOUS MESSAGE ABOUT SUBMITTING A proposal to how we will rectify our sales complaints….

This is beyond ludicrous.  Amazon Seller customer service is absolutely the definition of insane!!!

 

9.) We oblige “NITHYA” and again submit our story about being locked out of the account and unable to control any sales support issues and submit the link to this blog once again.

 

10.) 10/28/17 – We again receive the AUTOMATED BULLSHIT REPLY that simply says, “we reviewed your account and conclude that you can no longer sell on Amazon.”

 

11.) We again email Jeff with this link for his continued review of his departments failures in customer service.  There is no reason non profit foundations should be treated like this when they are cooperating to fix issues on their donation sales platforms.

12.) We again receive the same auto generated reply as #8 above with Nithya. This time the name has been changed to Francine but the message is the same. WTH???

13.) We also received a random reply from the Amazon.Ca email stating…..

“I understand your concern regarding the account password reset and
login. I’ve checked your email correspondent. You’ll need to
contact our partner site, Amazon.ca, for more information about account password
and login, as our international websites operate independently. You can contact
them directly at:”
THIS IS THE REPLY WE GET IN REGARDS TO OUR COMPLAINT THAT WE ARE GETTING NOTICES FROM amazon.Ca in the first place when we are not even signing in to a amazon.ca account.

 

THE SAGA CONTINUES!!!!!!

 

This case is making a wonderful youtube video and we are enjoying slandering Amazon as much as possible in our public presentations because they need to get their act together!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

*This is such a detailed description of life at Spiritual eco communities like Standing Rock, that I just had to re-post it.

In only a few months, a small encampment of a few Lakota people dedicated to protecting the Missouri River from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) became the center of international attention, swelled to house up to 14,000 people at its peak in early December 2016, and was supported entirely by volunteers and countless donations of both money and goods.

Many people from around the US and beyond traveled to North Dakota to support this fight for indigenous sovereignty, treaty rights, and environmental justice. Residents of the resistance camps existed within a capitalism-free zone, where nothing was for sale and everything from delicious meals to winter camping gear to expert medical care was available for free.

I first visited Standing Rock in early November 2016, and returned to spend five weeks in late December and January volunteering as a white ally to the indigenous “Water Protectors.” I spent my days splitting firewood, cooking meals, installing woodstoves, doing small carpentry projects, shoveling snow, sharpening chainsaws, doing dishes, and—on one rare occasion—livestreaming footage of police violence from the frontlines. During both visits I lived at Oceti Sakowin Camp, the largest of the three Water Protector camps and the location closest to the front lines of the fight against the pipeline. Oceti Sakowin is made up of many smaller camps organized by tribal group and other themes, and I quickly found a home at Two Spirit Nation, a community of two-spirit, queer, and transgender Water Protectors from many different indigenous nations, as well as their non-indigenous allies.

Most of my observations here will center on the deep winter weeks at Oceti Sakowin Camp, when nighttime temperatures regularly hit -25 degrees Fahrenheit, daytime temperatures sometimes failed to creep above zero, and cold winds whipped the open plain. The gift economies of direct action camps and festivals are easier to fathom in warm months, but during this period we all depended on the gift economy for our daily survival in a very real way. It’s notable that as of my departure in late January, not one person had died at the camps—compare this to large urban centers in cold states that see regular deaths from hypothermia among the houseless population under similar conditions.

Lin Migiziikwe Gokee-Rindal, an Anishinaabe Water Protector, was impressed with the collaborative culture at the camps. She reflects that she was “touched and inspired by the ways in which the people showed up for each other and how people in close proximity quickly became family. In harsh conditions and under extreme circumstances, a culture of mutual aid and a framework of traditional Lakota values…led to a thriving and close-knit community.”

What did this gift economy provide for us?

Housing. The winterized camp consisted of many army tents, wall tents, tipis, yurts, and a few tiny houses and RVs. Nearly all were heated with woodstoves, sometimes supplemented with small propane heaters. Most people slept on cots padded with several sleeping pads. You had to know someone at camp to get housing easily, but in an emergency you could spend one night in the warming tent maintained 24 hours a day near the Medic station. Arctic sleeping bags and endless piles of blankets were readily available for free if you hadn’t been able to bring your own. Residents in each structure took turns stoking the woodstove throughout the night.

Food. Some camps had their own kitchens that would cook two or three meals a day, but there were also several public kitchens in the camp that would feed anyone who walked in their doors looking for food. All the kitchens were staffed entirely by volunteers and stocked with donated ingredients. Meat is a staple of the Lakota diet, and I ate many meals of deer, buffalo, and elk meat donated by local hunters and ranchers. Sometimes we’d get a chance to eat Indian Frybread Tacos and other local specialties. At Two Spirit Nation, we had two sizable tents full of canned goods, granola bars, butter and cheese, pasta and crackers, tea and hot cocoa, meat and fish, and endless boxes of winter squash and root vegetables. Much of it was from organic farmers from Maine to Oregon, who had donated their extra crops to support the cause. Even in late January we still had enough food to feed our 15-person camp for another few months…or at least until the first real thaw, when all the frozen meat and produce would go bad.

Water. When it never gets above freezing, liquid water becomes a commodity. A heated water truck would make the rounds of camp most days, and small groups with access to a car would fill up five-gallon jugs offsite. The trick was keeping them unfrozen, so we usually kept them in the living spaces, which we heated around the clock with woodstoves. Melted snow was used only for dishwater, since persistent rumors circulated about harmful chemicals being sprayed in the atmosphere over our camps (as of this writing, there is no reliable scientific evidence to support this).

Sanitation. Oceti Sakowin Camp boasted two composting toilet tents. Each large army tent contained 15 stalls, with two attendants supervising them 24 hours a day. The attendants kept the tent heated with a woodstove, and changed the compost bags when the bucket in a stall got close to being full of sawdust, toilet paper, and human waste. One side of each tent was reserved for “Moon Stalls” where tampons, pads, and baby wipes were always available in each stall. The toilet system was one of the most organized parts of the camp, although exactly where our compost was going to go after it left camp in those nice biodegradable bags remained somewhat mysterious.

Security and Fire Response. An indigenous security team equipped with two-way radios monitored the two gates of camp 24 hours a day, and did patrols around camp. A second Women’s Security team was formed in response to several assaults at the camp, and maintained a safe housing space for women and two-spirit people. Three or four times during my stay, we woke in the middle of the night to people yelling “FIRE!” and rushed to the scene of a blazing tipi or shack, probably set afire by poor woodstove management. While these fires were too far along for our small fire extinguishers to make a difference, there was usually a person in full firefighter gear present who could probably have rescued anyone stuck inside. While the victims of these fires generally lost everything, they could easily get a new set of winter clothes and a new arctic sleeping bag from the donations available in camp.

Medical Care. The Medic Wellness Area boasted winterized yurts and tipis for doctors and street medics, herbalists, bodyworkers and acupuncturists, midwives, and mental health workers. All these services were available at no charge. A licensed doctor was usually on duty in the medical yurt, and there were free-for-the-taking stations for herbal tea, fire cider, basic medical supplies, hygiene items, and condoms. At the time when I departed, three healthy babies had been delivered at camp, and the medics had handled countless front-line injuries from rubber bullets, chemical weapons, concussion grenades, and water cannons.

Fuel and Firewood. Firewood was consistently the most sought-after commodity in camp. Somehow regular deliveries of whole logs consistently showed up, and each camp would send a few people with a chainsaw and truck or sled to get wood for the day. The general rule was to cut enough wood for your camp, and then cut some more and leave it for people who didn’t have a chainsaw. We all split the wood back at camp, and took turns stocking all the heated structures for the day. Every Saturday a propane truck arrived and filled our empty canisters with fuel for cooking and heating. I suspect these deliveries were paid for out of larger donation funds administered by Oceti Sakowin Camp or the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

Winter Gear. Endless bags of donated clothing and bedding arrived at Standing Rock during October, November, and December. Much of it was unsuitable for arctic conditions, but there was enough high-quality gear to outfit the winter crew of Water Protectors (about 600 people) several times over. Anyone could visit the donation tents at any time and take anything they wanted.

Tools. Each smaller camp had an assortment of tools, and there was also a large construction building that would loan out any power tool you could think of as long as you left your ID with them as collateral. They provided everything from electric drills to ladders to chainsaws to a sewing machine. They also had 2x4s, particle board, and screws that you could ask for, and they’d give you what you needed if you could show them a sensible construction plan and materials list.

Spiritual Leadership and Ceremony. There were a few heated gathering spaces of different sizes that hosted everything from daily prayer circles to a huge Christmas Eve dinner with traditional singing and drumming. There were also several sweat lodges that any indigenous spiritual leader could use for the traditional Lakota Inipi ceremony of prayer, healing, and purification.

Use Your Imagination… The abundance of physical donations led to a lot of things being creatively repurposed. My buddy and I cut up donated sweatshirts to make crocheted rugs for the living spaces, and unraveled donated sweaters to produce yarn to knit extra-warm wool underwear. I pulled from the scrap pile outside the construction building to build shelves in our living space, and countless donated blankets were used to seal out the draught in winterized tipis. Whatever you needed, there was probably a way to make it with the tools and materials available at camp.

The gift economy at Standing Rock manifested itself according to the principles of indigenous culture. The Lakota people name generosity and compassion as two of their core values, and I saw those values in action every day. Much of the system depended on each group taking just enough for their own short-term needs, and leaving the rest for others. At home my instinct is to stockpile what I need for my own survival (two years’ supply of dry firewood, etc.), but that sort of strategy has its roots in the questionable idea that individual survival is possible without collective survival. In the capitalist economy of mainstream culture, it’s common for one household to thrive while an adjacent one is struggling to meet its basic needs. Houseless people freeze to death huddled next to spacious and luxuriously heated buildings inhabited by more “successful” folks.

In contrast, at Standing Rock we defined success as our collective survival. Therefore we took just the firewood that we needed, checked on the elders every day, brought food and coffee from our kitchen to the compost toilet attendants, and helped anyone who asked us for assistance. This culture of abundance seemed logical and easy in a situation where our needs for survival were simple and a steady flow of money and donated goods was pouring in all the time. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would take to create a steady-state gift economy, which could exist without these flows from the outside capitalist world.

When I finally left Standing Rock my friend and I stopped at a co-op food store in Minneapolis to obtain some much-dreamed-of fresh vegetables to munch on. It was such a shock to be asked to pay for food again. It made me wonder what it would take for our larger society to turn its ship around and set a course for a more generous and compassionate form of economy. It seems that these values arise in us spontaneously when a natural disaster hits and we are suddenly in a survival situation, such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or Hurricane Sandy in New York City. The rest of the time, our whole economy depends on a me-first, get-ahead value system based on competition and survival of the fittest (or, in a rigged system like ours, the most privileged). When luxuries and conveniences become symbols of status, we tend to become self-serving.

When people become passionate enough about collective survival, luxuries and conveniences lose their appeal. How can we help each other prioritize our collective well-being? How can we encourage ourselves to expand our definition of “the collective” to include the Lakota concept of “all my relations”: the four-leggeds, the winged ones, the stone people, the star people? When we listen to the prayers of indigenous people and orient our values in this ancient way, the path to a truly sustainable gift economy can unfold before us.

For further reading on pre-colonization economic history and gift economy theory, see The Indigenous People’s History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein.

Murphy Robinson is a wilderness guide, hunting instructor, and founder of Mountainsong Expeditions in Vermont. She lives in a Tiny House on a community organic farm in the mountains. You can contact her through her website, www.mountainsongexpeditions.com.