Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door


Akwesasne Basket Drive & Mountain of Toys

1,150 families served in 2011


From a humble beginning of accepting gently used toys and hand washing them over several days before giving them away to those families who needed them, the Akwesasne Basket Drive and Mountain of Toys has come a long way. Eventually as the years went on people started bringing in turkeys to add to the toys that were being given to families in the Akwesasne community. One family has pushed and donated many hours over the years to turn the drive into an amazing event that the community looks forward to each year.

With over 80-volunteers to help organize, host and then sort the donations after the actual drive, this year the Akwesasne Basket Drive & Mountain of Toys assisted 1150 families. Approximately $44,000 was raised in monetary donations and all was used this year to purchase supplies to be given to the families who signed up to receive their baskets. Event organizers explained is that the basket drive isn’t necessarily about Christmas – what they are doing is giving families a basket filled with food supplies and toys for the children. If you need a meal and if you want some toys for your children then sign-up for the baskets next year, you don’t have to celebrate Christmas to participate.

The organizing committee typically meets every week from September until December, and once the basket drive happens the volunteers spend their entire weekend sorting through all of the donations to make sure everything is distributed fairly. The entire event is always going to be a family affair and promoting positive families. It is carrying on the good that the community can do and to pass those attributes on to the youth in Akwesasne with each basket that is given out.

The following is the list of acknowledgements from the event organizers to everyone who helped in some capacity with this year’s Akwesasne Basket Drive & Mountain of Toys.

Prize Winners: Ipad- Deana Oakes; 3DS- Nathan Francis; Kindle Fire- Paris Lazore; 50/50 Drawing- Mary Gray.

Toy & Monetary Donations: Hogansburg Methodist Church; Dan Cook; Indian Time; Andy Cook; Barney, Viola, and Sandra; Charlie Jacobs; Carlos Jacobs; Laurie Dumas; Buck Cook; PJ Herne; Phoebe Curran; Pat & Buster Benedict; Seaway International Bridge Corporation; Janice Brown; Mona Via; Jean Square; Patty Herne; Elaine & Les Thompson; Akwesasne Housing Department; Joe’s Custom Cakes; Dave Mainville; Pete Terrance; Barbara Benedict; Jennifer Hill; Charles Otto; Dina David; Jingles; Jennifer Brown; Sandra Lauzon; Cook’s Greenery; Tarbell Management Group; Employeees at MCA; Mohawk Council of Akwesasne; Speedway Convenience; Dunkin’ Donuts; Kawehnoke Recreation Center; Shortstop Convenience; Frenchie’s Chevrolet; Alana Green; Darlene Thompson; Bill Cook; Vicky Herne; CKON 97.3 FM; Stan Burnham; Wilma Jacobs; Lawrence & Diane Swamp; Al Garrow; Brass Horse; Abe Gray; Swamp’s Performance; Jody Swamp; Casey Swamp; Tribal Gaming Commission & Inspectors Office; Janet Tatro; Jennifer & Clayton Benedict; Beatrice White; Benny Herne; Akwesasne Mohawk Bingo Palace; Akwesasne Mohawk Casino; Marci Ransom; Randy Thomas; Rosalie Herne; Carey Terrance; Kevin “Big Boy” Lazore; Atomic Place; Kanonkwatseriio; Judy Laffin; Rona Cashway- Cornwall; Emma Curotte; Oren Bigtree; Jerry Cook; Tavian Simmons; Katrina Herne; Martha George; In memory of Marjorie King; Dorreen King; Ken Arquette; Dan Cook; Braves Packaging; Bea White; Becky Benedict; T-19 Sports; Phil & Mary Gray and Ronnie Garrow.

Money Count completed by Mohawk Bingo Palace: Sarah Razus-Judware; Faith Thompson; Beth Belknap; Terry Leaman; Trisha Ransom; Sesir Herne; Sarah Herne and Matt Rourke.

Silent Auction Donations: Purple Ribbon; Richard David; Natasha Smoke- Santiago; T Designs; Terry and Beth Leaman; Elizabeth Perkins; Debbie Ransom; Tamra Thomas; Elizabeth Perkins; Sherwin-Williams; Crystal Henry; Kerdy Mitcho; Melissa Morales; TD Gift Baskets; Healthy Way; Wendy Adams; Lenora David; Vicki Phillips; Chocolate Chicks; Akwesasne Warriors; Amber Mcdonald; Zak in the Box; Nikki; Jordan Thompson; Akwesasne Wolves; Akwesasne Basket Drive; Linda Garden Goodies; Niio Perkins; 37 West; Matt Benedict Luxury Limo; Cook’s Greenery; Tractor Supply Co.; North Racquette Greenery; Akwesasne Basket Drive; ; Carol Bigtree; Mike Laffin; Speedway Convenience; Mohawk International Raceway; Kahentanoron Photo; Peets Jewelers; Jimmy Sellers; Gloria Thompson and Melissa Conners-Chamberlain.

Silent Auction Winners: Barbara Gray; Frenchie’s Chevrolet; Randi Rourke-Barreiro; Beatrice White; Shelia Cook; Dorothy Shatlaw; Tina Tarbell; Debbie Solomon; Willy Thompson; Gordon Jacobs; Betty Ransom; Darrow Clute; Danny Laffin; Mae Green; Rebecca Benedict; Mary Gray; Tracy Gray; Irene Cook; Trish Ransom; Julia Skidders; Barbara Montour; Joyce King; Katy Tarbell and Mamie David.

Jail Birds: Leona Barnes, Buck Cook, Ienonkwahawis, Kendra Tarbell, Sylvan Deschatelets, Erin Lewis, Jodele Courrier, Brian Barnes, Kyrie Ransom, Charlie Jacobs, Julia Skidders, Ron Lafrance, Theresa Gardner, Tisha Thompson, Eli Tarbell, Vernie Herne, Leona Barnes, Stacey Skidders, Casey Swamp, Randi Barreiro, Jean Square, Betty Kelly, Matt Rourke and Erin Lewis.

Bailers: Katrina Herne; Tom St. Ann; Lindsay Martin; Noonie Thomas; Dave Mainville; Kaly Mainville; Clarissa Chatland; Carlene Chatland; Kim Terrance; Jenny Thompson; SRMT Community Partnership; Bear Cook; Andy Cook; Braves Packaging; Dawn Tarbell; Mary Arquette; Valerie Cook; Michelle Barnes; Debbie Cree; Adam “Happy” Bashaw; IPP; Tony Chase; Ienonkwahawis; Julia Skidders; Rachel Garrow; Jim Hemlock; Buggo; Melissa Morales; Ron Swamp; James Ransom; Veronica Cook; Lawrence Swamp; Melissa Jacobs; Mike Phillips; Russell Roundpoint; Reggie Chubb; Brass Horse; Rita Saumier; Amber Mcdonald; SRMT Health Service; Rosalie Jacobs; Akwesasne Convenience Store Association; Jerry Cook; CKON; Erin Lewis; Elaine Thompson; Tehanerahtaiens; Brian Barnes; Lillian Barton; Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe; Raeanne Rourke; Susan Rourke; Loretta Rourke; Kyrie Ransom; Tsiorasa Barreiro; Gary Gray; Tarbell Management Group; Lacey Herne; Antonia Herne; Retha Herne; Faith Graffis; Tsionatiio Barnes; Elaine Barnes; Mike Biron; Pete Barnes; Larry Edgley; Leona Barnes; Terry Lee Ransom; Pat Bassney; Monica Jacobs; Esther Dufresne; Bruce Kelly; Russell Linstad; Troy Labarde; Betsy Horseman; Joseph Lisi; Sandi Rourke; Leona Cook; Nikaiataa Skidders; Carey Terrance; Margaret Jacobs; Debbie at Indian Time and Nadine Jacobs.

Volunteers: Frybread- Madeline Oakes; Cornsoup- Barbara Cook; Tray Horn; Cheyanne Thompson; Melissa Benedict; Alex Sardella; Melanie Sardella; Brandon Rourke; Jordan Rourke; Chrissy Jacobs; Will Laffin; Pat Phillips; Joe Jock; Melanie Laffin; Esther Dufresne; Ray Herne; Sesir Herne; Larry Edgley; Emily Lauzon; Sara Gotham; Alma Ransom; Lacey Pierce; Jean Laffin; Dick Laffin; Mouse; Vicky Peters; Chantelle Cooke; Shereese Thomas; Lorraine Thomas; Jessica Sargent; Kansas Cook; Matt Tarbell; Huey Tarbell; Sara McDonald; Clint Edwards; Tim David; Amber Montour; Jenna Herne; Sarah Herne; Michelle Burke; Rotsienhiio; Kanenhakaien; Steevi King; Nikaiataa Skidders; Barbara Cook; Sharon Nolan; Danny & Melanie Musgrove; Lindsay Martin; Jane Homer; Raienkonnis Edwards; Sarah Tarbell; Myranda Cora; Jose P. Verdigo; Lori Laffin; Curtis White; Jolene Jackson; Thomas White; Jheri White; Katy Tarbell; Joe & Eugene King; Lucille Peters; Lacey Herne; Herbie Francis; Tina Tarbell; Wendy Adams; Benny Herne; Elizabeth Daughtry; Vicki Boyer; Welden Bogarus; Jean Stasuk; Terrilee Ransom; Garrett McKeeman; Toby TenEyck; Margaret Ransom; Amy Mcdonald and Casino Warehouse- Julie, Julia, Dave, Clayton, Barry, Will, Margaret, & Tony.

Special Thanks to: The Hogansburg Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department #1; The Staff of the Kateri Hall; Bingo Palace Staff; Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Staff; Rick & Paulette Hamelin; Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe; Mohawk Council of Akwesasne;

Niawen Kowa to all the people in Akwesasne that work to make the Akwesasne Basket Drive & Mountain of Toys a success for the past 15 years. This initiative works because it is Akwesasne taking care of their own. We are very grateful to have amazing volunteers and supporters. See you next year!


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