A few months ago, Mike Donahe wanted to collect blankets and heaters for this breatheren living in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Within a week of announcing his intent at his local church, the blankets started coming in.
After a story ran in the Daily Sun about their efforts, the Donahe's phone started ringing. And ringing. And ringing.
By the time the Donahes were ready to head north, they ended up with more than 6,000 blankets, 50 heaters and about $4,000 in monetary donations, which allowed them to rent a 26 foot U-Haul truck "stuffed to the ceiling" and get fuel for the truck.
"I was overwhelmed," Mike said. "I knew that the Villages residents were good, but I never imagined 7,000 in that short time. People are offering to do whatever is necessary (to get the program running)".
In November, the Donahes, along with Mike, Kelly and Brooke Goss, made the 33 hour trip from Florida to South Dakota with maybe a 4-5 hour rest break.
"The weather was great, but 33 hours is a long time to push straight through," Mike said.
Within a few minutes of arriving at the reservation, a large crowd had gathered around the truck. When it came time to move down the street, Mike needed someone on each corner of the vehicle so he wouldn't run over anybody.
"Word spread fast," Mike said. "I've never seen people) get this excited over a blanket. It was like we were handing out million dollar bills."
They later went door-to-door distributing blankets.
When the Donahes and Gosses asked them how many blankets they needed, the families would start with a low number. They they found out how many were in each family and distributed the blankets accordingly.
"I learned to ask how many live here," Mike said.
After getting the blanket drive going, the Donahes have started up a nonprofit organization called Spirited Heart, which has it's own website, spiritedheart.org.
The Donahes are collecting blankets and heaters for another trip in January. A local craft group, Busy Hands, Happy Hearts are chipping in to help, donating scarves, hats, mittens and baby blankets.
Mike also plans to head back up during the summer months to start building houses.
He is looking into buying a piece of land so he can put down a storage building to use for supplies.
"There's a lot in the works," Mike said.