Tulsa ministry working to give Hurricane Katrina victims a Merry Christmas

Thursday, November 24th 2005, 3:07 pm
By: News On 6

Millions of bargain hunters will be hitting the stores on Friday, but for the places visited by Hurricane Katrina before Santa could make it to town, holiday shopping and gift-giving will be practically non-existent.

News on 6 reporter Joshua Brakhage found some Green Country folks who are trying to make sure the holidays aren't spoiled for kids on the Gulf Coast.

Ric Shields has seen the destruction Katrina left behind first hand. He's made three trips to the Coast with his ministry, Open Doors, and has seen destruction you could never imagine. "People have lost everything. Anything that possibly can be damaged is damaged. There's nothing to come back to."

Shields says this holiday season, the only things victims are buying are the necessities, the things they'll need to put their lives back together, making Christmas presents pretty low on the list of priorities. "Families are gonna be working hard just to get out of their little FEMA trailers. What are they 300 feet? To get back into their home and there won't be anything left over for kids to have Christmas."

That's why Open Doors has started collecting toys for the kids on the Gulf Coast. From bikes to Barbies, and NASCARS to Care Bears, even some CD players for older kids. Anyone would have a ball with these gifts, but to hurricane victims, even a little means so much.

Each one of the toys means a gift for a child that might have had to go without this holiday. And the folks here hope each means they'll have a Christmas worth remembering. "If we can provide them some great happy memories, what a wonderful thing that will be." And that's a gift worth most of all.

Open Doors is collecting new, unwrapped toys at the Carbondale Assembly of God at 2135 West 51st Street in Tulsa.

They'll be taking donations up until noon on December 12. They still don't know how they'll get them to the Gulf Coast.

If you can help or want more information, you can call 446-0795.