Monday, October 26, 2009

Year-End Report

As we wrap up the 2009 year things are looking great for Backpacks For Pine Ridge. In spite of a rough economy, giving kept pace and even exceeded what we expected. Here are a few of the highlights from the past year.

  • In January our friends 8 Lives Spent held a benefit at The Virginia Brewing Company in Winchester, VA with Michael Fath, Tom Fitzgerald, Brent Woodall and Naches Trace for the purpose of raising money to buy electric heaters. Because of their efforts we were able to deliver 50 heaters to those in need on the Reservation.

  • In April we had our “Backpacking Party” where in 2 hours we filled 500 backpacks with school supplies, packed them into boxes and stacked them so they were ready to load onto the truck. 150 were destined for the village of Allen, 100 to the village of Wounded Knee and the remaining 250 to the Calico Community on the Reservation.
  • In May we got word that The Cincinnati Teamsters Motorcycle Association would be making The REZonate Music Fest and Bike Ride their “event of the year”.
  • In June we received a message from Dawn Frank, president of the Calico Community, saying they needed 300 backpacks for the children in her community. The problem was, we only had 250, so the call went out and you all responded with the money to purchase 50 more backpacks and the school supplies to go in them!
  • In July we delivered 550 backpacks to the Reservation - more than we’ve ever done before! 150 backpacks to the village of Allen, the poorest village in America. 300 backpacks were delivered to the Calico Community and 100 to the village of Wounded Knee! Dawn Frank, president of the Calico Community on the Reservation tells what impact that has on the families in Pine Ridge. (click here)
  • August was a busy month. In August we held the REZonate Music Fest at the Voice of America in West Chester. REZonate Music Fest is a day long music fest and is our biggest fundraiser of the year. This year we had almost 3 times more people in attendance and made enough money to buy backpacks for 1 village! The Teamsters Motorcycle Association showed up with some beautiful Harley’s and a great attitude. What a thrill to hear those bike thunder out onto the highway letting everyone around know something was up! We were so grateful that Brian White and Karyn Williams could be back again this year and true to form they delivered an amazing performance. New this year at REZonate were The Sonic Sledgehammers who showed the crowd a good time by playing rock hits from the 60’s – today. 8Kount wowed everyone with a kicking performance of rock originals. And Double Cross provided lots of laughs alongside some good old country music. We are also grateful that Dan Tacket could join us again this year to emcee the event! Toby Howell, a local Firefighter and EMT for Fairfield Township was on hand all day long to provide first aid and to let the kids (old and young) dress up in his firefighter suit. B105 and The Wolf were our Media Partners for the event and 96 ROCK had Amber from Backpacks For Pine Ridge and Niki T from 8Kount in the studio for a on-air interview. Yeah, we had FUN! You can still hear it here ...

Also in August, Scot from Pittsburgh held a benefit for Backpacks for Pine Ridge! Its really amazing when total strangers from other cities get involved!

Many THANKS to …
The volunteers who put in LONG hours parking cars, setting up, tearing down, running sound, picking up trash and working booths at REZoante Music Fest. Thanks to the REZonate Team (Brian Buriff, Jessica Neal, Brody Jacobs, Brian Whitlock, Dennis Whitaker, Paula Short, and Tim Hall) for the many hours of meetings and work to make REZonate happen. And thanks again to the local businesses who have generously sponsored REZonate – Hauser Heating and Air, The Rotary Club of West Chester, Ameridian Specialty Services, All Signs, One Stop Tool Rental, Jacobs Plumbing and Excavating, Panera Bread, Kroger, Duke Energy, Majestic Molds, Inc., Papa Johns Pizza

Thanks to the Cincinnati Teamsters Motorcycle Association.

Thanks to Jeff Smith for all the hours of planning and organizing the motorcycle ride!

Thanks to our Media Partners B105 and The Wolf

Thanks to 96 ROCK and WFCJ for the on-air interviews

Thanks to Richard O Jones for running a front page story in the West Chester Pulse-Journal.

It is truly humbling to have so many people sacrifice so much of their time and money to see the kids on the Reservation get the very basic school supplies that they need. Special mention should go to Jessica Neal who as volunteer coordinator for REZonate worked the festival while her husband Wes was in ICU. And mention should be made also that Dennis Whitaker who oversaw the sound at REZonate worked about 20 hours straight. Dan Tacket gave his time emceeing the event just after shoulder surgery and was in much pain throughout the day but never let it show. I count it an honor to have such amazing people on board in the effort to fulfill the need on the Reservation. Thanks to each and every person who gave of themselves so others could benefit. I know God will not forget your hard work (Heb. 6:10).

On a sad note, Pam Nabor, the director of events for West Chester was injured at work and on medical leave just before REZonate. Pam has always served the needs of West Chester with outstanding efficiency and professionalism. To say we missed her this year would be a huge understatement, but even in her pain she came out to REZonate to visit and bring a personal donation.

Backpacks For Pine Ridge is a strictly volunteer organization. No one is paid a salary so that 100% of the funds raised can go directly toward the purchase of backpacks and school supplies for the children on the Reservation.

It is now the end of October and we already have 600 backpacks and the school supplies to take to the Reservation next summer! This year was a record-breaking year and it’s looking as if next year will beat that!

Of course, its never too late to get on board. To make a tax deductable donation just make your check out to Backpacks For Pine Ridge and mail to:

TheCommunity Foundationof West Chester / Liberty

5641 Union Centre Dr.
West Chester, OH 45069

Or give with a credit card on our web site at

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