St. George store needs help providing Christmas for hundreds of Native American kids

Shoppers peruse toys at Hurst Ace Hardware in St. George, Utah, Nov. 23, 2016. Hurst Ace Hardware helps with an annual toy drive for Paiute children by offering discounts on merchandise purchased for the charity. | File photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The community is invited to help make Christmas brighter for underprivileged youth in Southern Utah-area Indian Reservations.

Shivwits Paiute Indian Reservation sign near Ivins, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 23, 2016 | File photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

Whether it’s donating toys or other goods, offering monetary donations or joining a fundraising hike, people are encouraged to contribute to M&S Turquoise’ annual “Shivwits Toy Drive” in support of impoverished Native American youth.

For 20 years, M&S Turquoise owner Jim Sevy has overseen the Christmastime toy drive for the Shivwits Band of Paiutes in Washington County.

While the toy drive’s namesake will be the first to be served by the charity, Sevy said he believes with enough donations, the program can provide for the Koosharem and Kanosh Paiute bands as well.

“The Southern Utah Paiutes are a really close knit group. A lot of them are cousins and relatives,” Sevy said. “We’d love to be able to take care of these three bands in an equal way.”

To help make that happen, Sevy said the fundraiser will need to raise about $4,000 to provide kids with toys, pajamas, blankets and Christmas dinners.

Jim Sevy, owner of M & S Turquoise in St George, Utah, Nov. 23, 2016 | File photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

“We can do a lot with $4,000, and if we get more than that, we spend every penny of it,” he said.

As in previous years, cash or toy donations can be made in-store at 53 E. St George Blvd. M&S Turqoise can also take monetary donations over the phone by credit card by calling 435-628-0393 or through the Venmo app to the company’s account — jamesmsevy. While toy donations are accepted, Sevy said monetary donations are the most efficient way to contribute, 100 percent of which go to providing Christmas for kids in need.

Sevy and other M&S Turquoise staff do all the heavy lifting for the event.

“We and our staff here do all the volunteer work, whether it’s wrapping, packing or shopping,” Sevy said. “We give them the time off to go do it.”

One enthusiastic contributor spends the entire year weaving beanies and scarves and delivers them to M&S Turquoise in three large bags to be distributed to the hundreds of children the charity supports.

Other companies that also help with the annual toy drive include Hurst Ace Hardware and Walmart by providing discounts to M&S Turquoise on any purchases made for the program.

This year, Conserve Southwest Utah is teaming up with M&S Turquoise for a fundraising hike along the Santa Clara River on the Enepitsi Trail Monday morning. Shivwits Tribal Council Member Glenn Rogers will lead the hike, providing interpretive history and guiding participants to ancient petroglyphs along the trail.

Shivwits Tribal Council Member Glenn Rogers shares Paiute history with hikers in Southern Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Conserve Southwest Utah, St. George News

Anyone interested in joining the 4-mile roundtrip hike can meet at the Enepitsi Trailhead at 11 a.m. just off Santa Clara Drive where the road becomes Old Highway 91 — click here for directions on Google Maps. A minimum $20 donation is recommended, and those interested in joining may RSVP by emailing Conserve Southwest Utah Land Program Manager Sarah Thomas at [email protected].

Event details

  • What: “Santa Clara River Reserve Charity Hike” for the Shivwits Toy Drive.
  • When: Monday, Dec. 17, at 11 a.m.
  • Where: Enepitsi Trailhead in Washington County — map link.
  • Cost: Minimum $20 donation recommended.

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