It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays, turning Christmas into a high-stress occasion. Yet this day should be so much more; as an anonymous sage once noted, “Rejoice in the spirit of Christmas which is Peace, the miracle of Christmas which is Hope, and the heart of Christmas which is Love.”
Real Christmas miracles can happen, bringing hope to those who need it most, particularly children. Look no farther than the remote Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in north-central South Dakota. While Christmas should be a glorious holiday for children everywhere, families here simply cannot stretch their budgets to cover holiday gifts. This is one of the poorest regions in the United States, with an unemployment rate hovering around 75 percent, and roughly 60 percent of households with children under the age of 18 falling below the poverty level.
That means far too many deserving children likely would have no Christmas at all, on a day that should be full of such shining promise — if it weren’t for the Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte. Last year, this grassroots, not-for-profit youth organization made sure that 1,200 children in 19 reservation communities received personalized gifts from their “Dear Santa” letters, as well as much-needed winter clothing. This year, it hopes to serve 1,500.