Winter is well on its way, particularly in Indian County where temperatures on the Great Plains will soon be dropping below freezing, and windchills in the negative double digits for days on end is not unusual.

In fact, in Lame Deer, Montana, where Running Strong for American Indian Youth® partner, the Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation is located on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, the forecast for October 1 is calling for snow showers and a low temperature of 28 degrees.

“Our winters in Montana can be brutal,” says Emma Harris, the club’s director of unit operations. “We have had to close our club about six times last winter due to the below zero temperatures. Schools were also closed due to the frigid temperatures.”

Over and over again throughout the years we have heard similar sentiments from our partners requesting winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves and snow boots for the impoverished children they serve.

This fall, we have been working to ship out nearly 5,000 kids and adult size winter coats, 3,500 winter accessories kits, and 5,500 pairs of snow boots in toddler, children and adult sizes to 14 partners, including our own field office Tipi Waste un Zanipi (Wellness Through a Good Home) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

In Sallisaw, Oklahoma 2015 Running Strong for American Indian Youth® Dreamstarter Breanna Potter is continuing to better her community through her continuing relationship with Running Strong and her mentor organization the Brushy Cherokee Action Association where the winters in northeast Oklahoma can range from 50 degrees to 0 degrees, or less, along with the potential for a great deal of snow and ice.

Breanna noted that the Brushy Cherokee Action Association serves many families who struggle to buy food or cannot afford to pay their heating bill including a family of seven who were in that very position and were assisted at last year’s distribution.

“Following the event, we spoke with the children and found out they had been sleeping in their coats to keep warm,” she told us. “These coats were the difference between staying warm and freezing this winter.”

“We are happy to report that many children will be warm this winter thanks to this winter giveaway.”

“Your kind gift has made a huge

difference in the lives of children and their families in our community,” she commented.

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“I’m so happy my feet won’t be cold while I walk to school,” commented one little girl proudly displaying her brand new boots.

And, the impact is greater than just on the children and their families themselves.

“Seeing these children dressed in a nice coat, boots and winter gear make you proud of what the community center and Running Strong for American Indian Youth® has been able to accomplish,” commented one of the local area teachers.

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