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Katrina Christmas Delivery


The holiday season can be overwhelming for the most organized among us – with shopping, wrapping, decorating.  Imagine facing the challenge of creating a happy holiday for your family when you’ve lost everything – right down to the scissors and tape. As Kim Riemland reports, some Hurricane Katrina survivors are getting some special deliveries to help brighten the season.   


(Locator:  Gulfport, Mississippi)

“How much room do y’all have?”

It may be a strange looking sleigh…

“Here are the stuffed animals.”

…but this United Methodist youth group bus is packed full of Christmas cheer, headed for a place that sure could use some.

Brittany Kinman/Gulfport United Methodist Church Youth: “We’re just getting everything together and about to get ready to head over there.”

“Over there” is not far, but since Hurricane Katrina came, it’s a whole different world.

Volunteer:  “Just the devastation was unbelievable. I didn’t expect it to be this bad.”

More than 50 United Methodist youth from in and around Mississippi set up a Christmas shopping center of sorts in one of the hardest hit areas, to hand out 10 truckloads of donated toys, books and basics to those who’ve lost everything.

Rebecca Marziale/Hurricane Survivor: “We had 9 feet of water at our house so nobody has nothing.”

Storm survivor: “I really, really appreciate them doing all this for me.”

Storm survivor: “Truly a blessing, it really is.”

They’ve thought this through, right down to the details.

Thomas Deweese/Meridian United Methodist Church: “I got some wrapping paper for the people in the campers to wrap their Christmas presents that were given out today.”

The teens trek through FEMA trailer parks with bins of the little things hurricane victims need for Christmas …

Volunteer at trailer door: “It’s got Christmas decorations….”

…but probably don’t have.

Volunteer at trailer door: “We just wanted to give you a little bit of Christmas stuff.  It’ll help you get ready for Christmas.”

Storm survivor: “Wrapping paper and all kinds of things. Isn’t that great!”

Storm survivor: “It makes you feel like Christmas.”

It’s a place where joy may be hard to find this Christmas.  But on this day, it came by the busload…
Storm survivor: “Y’all have been a God’s blessing.”

…complete with a bow.

Volunteer: “Okay, thank you. Merry Christmas!”


The toys, books and wrapping paper sets the teens handed out were donated by United Methodist churches in and around Mississippi. Leftover books will help start a new library collection for an elementary school that the hurricane destroyed.

Contact the Mississippi Conference Disaster Response Center toll-free at 1-866-435-7091 to schedule a work team or send a gift to help with hurricane recovery. Or, log onto:

Also see: Mississippi youth take Christmas spirit to evacuees.

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