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Toy Drive for Pine Ridge, Pt 2
December 11, 2015 @ 8:30 pm$10
$10 or a new unwrapped toy.
The Toy Drive for Pine Ridge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that collects and delivers toys for children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and raises donations for heating, clothing, food, and educational resources for residents of the reservation.
Dunn became aware of the extreme need of the residents after spending time on the reservation.
The U.S. Census Bureau lists Pine Ridge as the most poverty-stricken area in the United States. It isn’t unusual to see frost on the inside of reservation homes during the harsh South Dakota winters. Food and heat are often scarce. Medical care is limited and without easy access. Dunn also learned that because of all this, very often children of Pine Ridge had no holiday gifts.
In 2003, Dunn arranged a benefit concert to collect toys for Pine Ridge children. Several of his musician friends agreed to perform at the concert. Approximately $500 in cash was collected, along with a large selection of toys.
Each year has added more concerts and other events, such as a radiothon and concerts outside Omaha. Because of the growth of the Toy Drive, Dunn expanded its reach on Pine Ridge: providing resources to a medical clinic on the reservation, assistance for elders, including a heating fund, and educational resources for schoolchildren in Pine Ridge. David Swallow Jr., a Lakota spiritual leader and Medicine Man from the Porcupine District, organizes gift distribution in the middle of December.
Dunn and the Toy Drive were recognized by the United Way of the Midlands in 2010 at their 55th Annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon for representing top community spirit and volunteerism in an ethnic population.
In 2011, Dunn partnered with a Pine Ridge school to provide donations of books and other educational resources, along with donations to cover school fees for families unable to pay. The Toy Drive for Pine Ridge received its first corporate grant in 2012 from the eBay Foundation to help continue this mission.
Lash LaRue & The Hired Guns
Lash LaRue and the Hired Guns are a supergroup of Omaha roots musicians featuring Lash LaRue formerly of the legendary Mercury’s. Lash is also known regionally for his annual Toy Drive For Pine Ridge which has raised a lot of money and presents for underprivileged children on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Dave Broders has been the front man for popular regional country group Leafy Spurge Band for many decades. The band and Dave have opened up for a who’s who of classic and contemporary country artists over the years and were inducted into the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame in 2009. Josh Dunwoody and Joe Watson currently perform in Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards nominated cajun roots band The Prairie Gators. The two musicians have performed in acts around Omaha for many years and will be performing as a duo this evening with a fun set of songs.