Sunday, February 12, 2006

Impact of KatrinaGrace Christmas 2005 Initiative

On December 17th, 2005, Beth Shields and Jen Long, on behalf of Grace Community Church's KatrinaGrace Ministry, delivered $15,000 worth of Gift Cards from Home Depot, Target and Walmart to the folks at Trinity Church in Covington, LA to distribute to their friends and neighbors impacted by Hurricane Katrina. After these were distributed, at our request, Trinity asked her folks to provide some feedback on the cards' impact. Here's what we found out.

Donnette Nienaliei

I gave the gift card to a young couple with 3 children who are taking care of a 91 year old woman in a wheelchair. They had a tree on the roof of their house that caused major structural damage. They still have a 4*4 in their den holding up the main beam to keep it from falling in. There were so grateful for the gift card and couldn’t believe we would do that.

John McCants

A lady came into church asking for help with her light bill. I asked if she was ok, and she said she had lost a family member, had another sick relative, and was working odd jobs in tough financial times. I have her the gift card and was able to pray with her! She was very grateful, saying it would help.

Accardo Family (four $50 Cards)

We gave all 4 of our cards to Cindi Christian.

Cindi lived in Slidell, LA prior to Hurricane Katrina. Cindi’s House was totally flooded and she lost all of her personal belongings. Cindi is in the entertainment business and all of her clients closed down and [her] business was lost.

Cindi is a warm and giving person who needed to know that God loves her and will be with her during this time.

Cindi is currently living in Kenner, her clothes are in Algories and working in New Orleans ([when] she can). She was delighted with the gift!!

Robin Cooper

I live n Slidell about one mile from the lake. Needless to say my house became an indoor swimming pool. God has continued to show His Great Grace & Mercy in providing 1st a c*15 camper & now a FEMA [trailer]. His will [permitting], my home is being [rebuilt[. Thank you for your kindness towards our family.

John Hecker

One of my co-workers lives in Slidell. He had 5 ft. of water in his house and lost both of his cars. His children, [a] daughter [(15)] and son [(10)] (guessing on ages), were sent to New York with his mother-in-law. The family is Catholic by faith, but by the way [of his] fierce love he has for his children, I know he knows the Lord in his heart. His son returned from New York the day after Thanksgiving. His daughter is too afraid to come home. His heart is hurting very much because of this. With the help of work, FEMA, and others, his house is being rebuilt. He has done a lot of the work himself. I had given him the card to buy his son a Christmas present. With all money going into the house, he had no hopes for giving his son anything. He is not materialistic, but Christmas is for the kids. I felt that this [was] where the Lord was prompting me to send these funds. He asked me to thank everyone in Trinity. I have talked to him about what we do at Trinity. I do not know if he will ever set foot in here, but he seems very openhearted and humbled by what we do.

Tony B

This lady I work with and her husband lived in Chalmette. They had just made their final mortgage payment and their house was paid off. Her husband drove an 18 wheeler. When Katrina came, their house and the 18 wheeler were washed away. I didn’t know but 18 wheelers are only insured when they are being driven. So that was a total loss. In their late 50’s, she told me last week that she couldn’t believe that they were having to start over. Her husband is working ripping out houses. They now live on the West Bank in an apartment and hope to rebuild in Chalmette at some point. I had carried the gift card for over a week and last night I decided to give it to her. When I got to work, I went to the lunch room and she was the only one there. She went to her office and after getting some coffee I approached her as she was taking out her check book. I don’t know if she was checking her balance or getting ready to write a check, but the gift card brought tears to her heart.

Beverly Theisen

Spoke with a lady at my gym – while we were talking she began to relate to me the story of her daughter and grandbaby who lost everything and were in a FEMA trailer.

As I shared the gift with her she was sincerely touched and very grateful. Thank you for allowing me to participate in giving this gift of love – what joy it brought to my heart.


I wanted to share an experience we had with the gift cards. We picked up three gift cards when they were first offered and kept them waiting for the Lord to put someone on our hearts or bring the need to us. We waited and waited – nothing. Then I got a call from this lady whom I’ve known for years that works with OCS. Years ago my office had adopted a family for Christmas and then continued to do so every year since. She called and wanted to know if we still did that. I checked and we had already adopted our family for this year. Then she told me she had prayed about this family and who could she call and she said the Lord told her to call me. Then I thought of the gift cards. I put her in touch with Karen and the kids and they all got together and used the gift cards to buy presents for this family with 10 kids under the age of 12, 5 boys and 5 girls. They wrapped the presents and delivered them to the family. I receive a thank you card this past week that reads as follows:

Bill, Thanks! Hanging out with your family was a wonderful experience. Your obedience to God to help this family and demonstrate the true meaning of giving warmly touched my heart and theirs. Thanks for arranging and thank Karen for making it happen. Regina”

Praise God!

Rebecca B

First I must praise and honor my God for his provisions. In the last few months God has provided me with a vehicle and a home. After returning from Katrina I felt as if I should give a lady $50.00. At first I thought maybe it was my own emotions. I wanted it to be of God and for Him to receive the glory from it. As I waited and prayed, the idea would not leave me. I was about the give the lady the money. I guess I was also so hesitant because I am a single mother living solely on child support. So I am very limited on finances. What an amazing God! When I was told about the card last Sunday and that the amount was for $50.00 I knew my God had provided the money. So I knew it would not be in any way my doing and God will receive the Glory. Not only did God provide that, but I was also blessed when someone gave me a gift card this week. I got my son a nice Christmas suit and new pair of shoes. I am not poor, my Heavenly Father owns it all. Praise His Holy Name.

Liz Haindel

I gave a gift card to a store clerk that I saw regularly that just seems to have a hard life. Surprisingly she just snatched it up with hardly a word.

God is teaching me again to do His works without expectation of any reward here but trust He is going to use this for His glory.

A preschool worker new to Northlake Christian since the storm is commuting from Percy Quinn State Park everyday. She and her extended family all lost their homes in Chalmette but are together in campers at the park.

She was very grateful for the gift.

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