Many American families struggle to provide adequate food and shelter, while some children enjoy their holidays without high-tech toys or candy. Appalachia is a 1,000-mile stretch of land that runs from south New York to northeast Mississippi. It’s home to many American children. They have to live on Indian reservations. Indoor heating and warm meals are difficult to find, as well as gifts with trimmings and trees.

Appalachian children make up one fifth of the population. Only a small percentage of Appalachian families are able to access healthcare. Many Indian reservations do not have basic infrastructure such as indoor plumbing. Many Indian reservations lack basic infrastructure, such as indoor plumbing. Few families can afford healthy food and fresh produce is scarce. American Indians are 420 times more likely to develop diabetes than other ethnicities.

Some organizations help to bring holiday hope to America’s most vulnerable communities. Non-profit Christian Relief Services, for example, works with Americans Helping and Running Strong for American Indian Youth (www.indianyouth.orgTo make the holidays more joyful for children from poverty in America,

Americans Helping Americans focuses its efforts in Appalachia. It organizes food drives, gift banks, and holiday gift baskets. Christian Relief Services’ Food, Coat and Holiday Distribution delivers food boxes with meat, pasta, milk, and bread to over 1,500 families in West Virginia and Virginia. Families were given whole turkeys as gifts and small presents for their children.

Running Strong provides toys each year to children who live in poverty or isolation on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation, South Dakota. Running Strong sends children letters to Santa and ensures each child gets one toy. For many American children, receiving a requested toy is a holiday tradition. However, for Cheyenne River children, it is a wonderful surprise and a great treat.

Running Strong organizes parties for families where they can watch movies, share healthy meals, exchange presents, and celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Visit to learn more about how you can make the holiday season happier and warmer for your child.