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Picture of first
bicycles
purchased for
less fortunate
children



Stories From the Heart

We, at the G&E Hill Foundation, are committed to bringing hope and happiness to children living in poverty. The stories are many and varied. But each story touches the hearts of caring souls in so many ways. The common thread in them is need and a cry for help.
 
If you have a story that you'd like to share, please email it to: Nancy.GandEHill@att.net or mail it to us at: G&E Hill Foundation, P.O. Box 21347, Baltimore, MD 21282. We reserve the right to select stories based upon brevity, clarity and public sensitivities.
 
Our stories are categorized in four ways: 
  • Bicycle Give-Away Letters (2007) - Parents seeking assistance for their children at Christmastime.
  • Bicycle Give-Away Letters (2006) - Parents seeking assistance for their children at Christmastime.
  • Hurricane Katrina Survivor Accounts (2005) - Victims of Hurricane Katrina sharing their tragic and heartrending stories - what they experienced and felt.
  • Bicycle Give-Away Letters (2004) -- Parents seeking assistance for their children at Christmastime.
     
    Bicycle Giveaway Letters (2007)
     
    Underprivileged children generally ask for so little because they are used to having so little. Below are a few letters asking for help that we received and were able to honor this year.
     
    Children rode the bikes for more than an hour
    Thank you for your generous gifts to my family this past holiday. I was forced into early retirement last January 2007 and stepped out on FAITH. I was truely blessed the entire year with God's gifts.

    I had informed my family that I would not be exchanging gifts last Christmas. Unexpectedly, your application was given to me. Then your call came with uncertainty. Later, your followup call with possibility. But thanks be to God, He allow you an opportunity to come all the way through for my family.

    You were not totally aware of the joy you brought to MY family the day you delivered the bikes to New Shiloh Baptist Church. My grandchildren were so surprised to receive your gifts--it was if you brought Christmas that day. The children rode the bikes for more than an hour in the parking lot and we went to my house to celebrate with a meal. I was so grateful to God and you for bringing so much joy to my family that Saturday. If you could just seen the children and how happy they were--THAT DAY WAS OUR CHRISTMAS.

    That Christmas reminded me of childhood--when a child wished for a special item (bike, skates or a doll) for Christmas and was truly surprised and grateful because he/she received it.

    Thanks again from my family and me for help making our Christmas a bless one. May God continue to Bless you both and I hope that you will be able to contine to bring joy to others.
    Loretta Brown
    Baltimore, Maryland
     
    The kind of Christmas I would like for them to have …
    I am writing to your foundation with the sincere hope that the G&E Hill (Foundation) can help provide my family with some assistance for the holidays. I am currently unemployed and truly struggling to keep bills paid especially the gas and electric bill being the next highest after the mortgage. I receive no benefits for my five (5) grandchildren; however, I do receive financial income for two of my foster care children.
    With bills and trying to keep food in the home, I feel that I would not be able to provide the kind of Christmas I would like for them to have. Anything that you can provide for my children will be greatly appreciated. If possible, can they be added to the bicycle giveaway? Any help that you can extend to my family will be a blessing. Thank you for your assistance and may you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
     
    (By the time this grandmother in need contacted us, all but two bikes were gone. So we donated those two bikes to her for the children to share. A generous donor gave 5 more bicycles to the other children -- 12/27/2004)
     
    Rose D. (Grandmother of 5 & Foster Care Mother of 2)
    Baltimore, Maryland
     
    When we come to get the bicycles …
    Do we need to bring the children with us, when we come to get the bicycles? I would like to thank you for selecting my daughter Laura Johnson & grandson Roger Sellers III. May God bless you.
    Lesley J.
    Baltimore, Maryland
     
    Would love for her to have a bike … that is her own
    My niece is in my care 4 days a week. I would love for her to have a bike at my house that is her own. She does not have much at her own home and things there tend to disapear (sic). Thank you for considering my niece.
    Tracy M.
    Baltimore, Maryland
     
    Would love to get bikes
    I have a six year old daughter and a fifteen year old son, that would love to get bikes. I would be ever so appreciative for your help. Would you please … let me know how we could get the bikes. Thank you and God Bless.
    Sabrina A.
    Baltimore, Maryland
     
     
    Bicycle Giveaway Letters (2006)
     
    Besides our focus on impoverished children in the Greater Baltimore Area, we teamed up for Christmas 2006 with a similarly-committed organization to present brand new bicycles to a number of Hurricane Katrina and Rita children now living in Houston, Texas. Below are a few of the many letters that we received from parents leading up to our 2006 Bicycle Giveaway. Their moving stories are being presented with spelling and punctuation intact. Because they wanted to share their profound pain and tremendous losses, they have given us permission to post their stories and their names.
     
     
    A beautiful bicycle for Christmas
    My name is Lolita Guillory. You blessed my daughter with a beautiful bicycle for Christmas. We are so grateful God placed your spirit with us. Next year if you are in the Houston area and you need volunteers please call us.
     
    May God protect you and lift you up in spiritual glory.
    Lolita and Samina
    Houston, Texas
     
    Like finding a pot of gold
    My son received a beautiful bike from your foundation. He really loves it and looks forward to riding it every time he opens his eyes. Receiving a bike without training wheels is like finding a pot of gold for him. We are so bless to receive all the wonderful things we have since Hurricane Katrina took what we knew as home away.
     
    I am in the process of writing everyone who has contributed to our new beginning here on Angel Lane in Houston,TX. I remember like yesterday how things were so crazy trying to escape with our precious life. Now looking back and seeing how God has blessed us with a new take on life. I have definitely taken this second chance serious and instilled in my son to be grateful for every little thing, no matter how small it may seem.
     
    Thank you dearly for the bikes and I will be mailing you a CD with all the pictures I took that day (12-23-06) to add to your collections. May God bless you and yours in all that you do. If you need volunteers for anything, please do not hesitate to contact me to help. Once again, thanks a million for the blessing of a new bike for my son.
    Tanika Thomas
    Houston, Texas
     
     
    • A lot of joy to be able to ride their own bikes
    Well we are from New Orleans. We never really left our city until we were forced out by Hurricane Katrina. I am a very hard working single parent of three kids. Since the hurricane I can't really afford anything extra, just the necessities (food, clothes, and bills) This will give my babies a lot of joy to be able to ride their own bikes in their new neighborhood with all the kids.
     
    Shelly Monnie
    Houston, Texas
     
     
    • Put a smile on their face
    Our house and personal possessions were destroyed in New Orleans. We came to Houston with the clothes on our backs and 3 extra change of clothes. We had 6 feet of water in our house in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Then my son Michael saved up money and bought him a Mongoose bike here in Houston and someone stole it from his school. He was very upset and I haven't been able to buy him another one. And Breanna would love to get a Bratz bike. A new bike would put a smile on their face. Especially since they've been through so much already.
     
    Michael & Tara Joseph
    Houston, Texas
     
     
    • Help them to forget the terrible memories
    Since Hurricane Katrina, my husband, nor myself have been able to find steady work. We have a hard time, just finding money for gas & food. We lost everything & find it intolerable to look back. We put our trust in God each day and know that things can only get better. In New Orleans, my husband had steady work for the last seven years. He worked in the tourist industry. I was in school. But our biggest lost is having our family members scattered all over. Our children desire bikes because it will certainly help them to forget the terrible memories of all the places & things they loved destroyed. Thank you & God bless you.
     
    Nicole Steib
    Houston, Texas
     
     
    • Lost with everything else in the hurricane
    Our family took its 1st vacation ever and has not stop running since hurricane Katrina. Tayari was just adjusting to being a big boy and learning to do things without training wheels and requesting so much help. He now looks at other kids riding bikes and ask where is his or what happen to his. Then he remember it was lost with everything else in the hurricane.
     
    Tanika Thomas
    Houston, Texas
     
     
    • Riding his bike in New Orleans was his favorite pass time
    I would like to see my child receive a bike, because riding his bike in New Orleans was his favorite pass time. That would be the first thing he wanted to do when he came home from school. Ever since we've been in Houston he has asked for his bike. His birthday is Christmas Eve and I know that would bring him so much joy to receive a new bike.
     
    DarlenePoole
    Houston, Texas
     
     
    • Having to lose all their toys and bikes
    These children have been thru a lot within the past year, first having to leave their homes because of the Hurricanes, also having to lose all their toys and bikes.

    Antoinette Vincent
    Houston, Texas
     
     
     

    The bikes would be a big blessing

    We lost all of our pictures, momentums, family antiques and even our jobs. My husband is now on disability due to Katrina and I am in school. Our income is quite small and we don't know where the money will come from for Christmas. The bikes would be a big blessing. When we evacuated from our home, we were in a hospital west of New Orleans and we had no contact with the outside world. We didn't have power or much food for a good while but at least we were together and alive.
     
     The Walters & Gervais Family
    Houston, Texas

     
    Not be able to buy two bicycles for Christmas

    I am 72 years old and retired. I am living on a fixed income. I will not be able to buy two bicycles for Christmas. After paying my house note, light bill, and water bill, there is hardly any money left to buy two bicycles.
     
     Billy J. Neal
    Houston, Texas

     
    • Like Heaven ever since

    When we left New Orleans running from Katrina, we ran to Mississippi right into the storm. So we went to a shelter there and left the next day for Houston, not one day, we stay 3 days in Mississippi. And in Mississippi we found loving people, who put us up for those three days, and they told us to go to Houston, and gave us a tank full gas out of there boat. When we got there, it was like a new world had opened to receive us. It been like Heaven ever since.
     
     Herbert & Barbara Robinson
     Houston, Texas
     

    Don't know what kind of Christmas my child will have

    We evacuated (my son and I, my youngest brother and niece) on Sunday, August 28, 2005, which was the day before the storm. We headed to Houston which took us 13 hours to get there. We stayed with a friend in his home along with at least 20 other evacuees. My mother and sister stayed behind, both had to be rescued. …The next time I heard from her was Wednesday evening after being rescued in a flat boat. …The last I heard from my sister was at about 10:30, during the morning of the storm. I didn't hear from her again until Friday, 4 days after the storm. I didn't think she had made it out, but she did.

    … Once my mom and sister were okay I had to get my son and niece registered for school in Houston, because we all knew it would be a very long time before we could go home. After the flooding and hours of watching the news, I found out that the area that I lived in (Lakefront area) had in some areas at least 10 feet of water. My apartment was of the first floor, so I lost everything I owned. Nothing was salvageable. My mother, sister, and most of my friends lost everything also.

    … After months I still feel displaced and have been advised by my job to seek counseling. I find myself upset most of the time, crying, and unable to sleep. This has also taken a toll in my son who can hardly see his father and other relatives because of the separation. Being forced from the place I was born and raised, and a place that I thought I could always call home that may never be the same again, is a whole lot to handle all at one time. In addition to everything I have been through, I don't know what kind of Christmas my child will have because the job that I am presently holding barely pays the bills.
     
     Melina G. Duplessis
    Houston, Texas

     
    A bike would mean they are getting their lives back on track

    I would like to see my child faces light up with joy. They have been through a lot in the last year. Receiving a bike would mean they are getting their lives back on track, a stable environment for them. Thank you and God Bless you for this.
     
     Sandra A. McGowan
     Houston, Texas

     
    Lost all his toys to Katrina … like to see his face Christmas day with a new bike

    My son lost all his toys to Katrina, and at his age he doesn't really understand what has happened. I do my best to explain but it's hard. I would just like to see his face Christmas day with a new bike.
     
     Luis Oviedo
     Houston, Texas
     
     

    Want to create the perfect Christmas for my only son

    My son has been affected tremendously by this hurricane. Ever since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast Region, my son has been living a distant life from his immediate family. This distance and separation has been shortened due to re-establishment of home and job security that took place over a long period of time. … Now that my son has a solid place of peace, solitude, and happiness to reside in. I want to create the perfect Christmas for my only son. Thanks for everything G&E Hill, Incorporated. God Bless You!!!
     
    Danny L. Cook
     Houston, Texas

     
    Lost everything. … want to see his face when he receive the bicycle

    … living in New Orleans 26 years. I just (went) to work for Monte Fresh. the day 29 we have to evacuate New Orleans. We drove 18½ hrs. But I planning to give to my son good surprise. the best gift for him is the bicycle … he is very good student but his dream don't come true. We lost everything. I want to see his face when he receive the bicycle. Thank God and thank you for the gift.
     
    Adan Chaves
     Houston, Texas
     

    • Trying to forget

    I went to work on that Sunday before Katrina hit and my daughter and I was separated. My daughter evacuated with my sister and I stayed behind. I went through the whole storm. My daughter & I was reunited after being separated for three months. … I hate to keep thinking about that. Right now I am trying to forget.
     
     Lynell McFarland
     Houston, Texas
     
     

    Bikes … completely destroyed by the hurricane

    August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina moved through New Orleans, LA, with forcible winds of 145mph. This was the event that altered my family's life. … a single parent of two boys, ages eleven, and fiye. We lived … in Mid-City. Mid-City was a historic, and well kept neighborhood, very safe for the boys. We were happiness, and content in the area. The children could play outside, after school without fear of violence. I miss that! … we packed up and evacuated to Memphis, TN. My oldest sister lives in Memphis, and welcomed us with open arms.

    On Monday, August 30, 2005, I knew that my family had a great chance of losing everything. We learned that the levels breached and most of the city was under water. The area we lived in was highly affected by the raising water, the water reached 14 feet in our old neighborhood, leaving nothing to savage. The boys and I had only two days of clothing, and one pair shoes. This was so difficult, not having the basic necessities. We were able to go to various churches in Memphis to get assistance. I think the hardest part of this tragedy, was to explain to my children that our lives had to change.

    … I would be elated for (them) to receive bikes for Christmas. Their bikes were in the back yard of our home in New Orleans, and were completely destroyed by the hurricane. I know they will truly appreciate the gift. Thank you.
     
     Shirley Fluker
     Houston, Texas

     

    • It just didn't ruin the house of some but it changed the life of many

    Our family way of life before the storm was a simple one but yet complex and busy.

    … decided to move. on the way Dwayne's Father caught another stroke and a mini heart attack along with being on dialysis four times a week. One day in dialysis Dwayne's Father felt pains in his chess and was rush to Memorial Hospital where he stayed for three weeks. … his father was transferred to Height Hospital where he died on December 29, 2005.

    The Hurricane name Katrina did not just ruin the house of the Williams but it also ruined the City of New Orleans. Not only did it ruin the city but the Hurricane push ten and the half feet of water into the house making it impossible to save anything that dwelt under the roof or better yet in the parameter of the city. The storm was a surprise to many. It just didn't ruin the house of some but it changed the life of many. The Williams family had a lot of opposition through this transition from Katrina. But the only thing that stay fresh is the sermon before they left saying you are stronger than you think.
     
     Chauntel Williams (The Williams Family)
     Houston, Texas

    Hurricane Katrina Survivor Accounts (2005)
    Hurricane Katrina Survivor Accounts (2005)

    Thousands of families were devastated by Hurricane Katrina, as well as Hurricanes Rita and Wilma. G&E Hill, Incorporated is pleased to have been able to provide, through its special Thoroughbred Spirit Relief Fund, relief to several families who were victims of Hurricane Katrina. Below are a few of the heartbreaking stories we received from these survivors. We hope our assistance has put a ray of hope back into their lives. Because they wanted to share their profound pain and tremendous losses, they have given us permission to post their stories and their names.

    • Washed away by the angry wind and water
    On August 28, 2005, my husband and I evacuated our home on Laurel Ct. in Biloxi, MS. We returned on Aug. 30th to find our home had been flooded over the roof. City may condemn it, but has yet to be determined. Forty-six years of our hard work and memories were washed away by the angry wind and water of Katrina. My husband and I are both retired and living on a fixed income. Any assistance you can give will be greatly appreciated. With a lot of pride, determination and help from organizations like yours we will rebuild our lives again. We are living with my son and daughter-in-law and 6 year old son, who by the grace of God sustained light damage.
     
    Judy Brussard
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Evacuated from New Orleans
    We evacuated from New Orleans, LA with much uncertainty and only packing for three days. The initial group grew to 30 people not including those who stopped by for meals, locations of mission sites, and necessary items that we shared. At this time, some of us are still in the home of the host family.
    Awaiting home repairs - roof, garage, air conditioning unit. Estimated date to return (home) undetermined.
     
    James Harry
    Jefferson, Louisiana

    • 5½ ft. of water in our home
    We had 5½ ft. of water in our home & had to evacuate to my daughter's home & we have 3 families living there. All carpet and furniture ruined by mud & water.
     
    Frances and Jerry Creel
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Never made it home
    The evening before the storm we were leaving Mississippi returning to New Orleans from a funeral and the counter-flow system was activated and our main route was closed. We never made it home to get any clothes.
     
    Cheryl Magee
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • No flood insurance
    My home was flooded by Hurricane Katrina. I lost all of my furnishings & personal belongings. I am 91 years old and partially blind. I had no flood insurance, and am now living with my 88 year old sister and caregiver. Any help you can assist me with will be appreciated.
     
    Juliet Wheeler
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Completely washed away by the storm surge
    My home and all that was in it were completely washed away by the storm surge. I have nothing left but the clothes I took with me. I am 88 years old and staying with my granddaughter and her family.
     
    Leona Brussard
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Severely Damaged
    My home received 5 ft. of water. Severely damaged. I stayed in my home for the storm. The Holt's came to get me the next day as did my 2 sons - one at Ole Miss, one in the Marines stationed in N.C. (later sent to Iraq). My mother, 93 years old, sister, 4 brother in law, 2 sons, myself, 4 dogs, 1 cat, were fortunate to have my niece's family to take us in. My son & I lost everything in my home including clothes, appliances, furniture, etc. & had no flood insurance.
     
    Donna Watts
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • At one time we had 12 people
    My husband and I lost our house in east Biloxi and we are living with our son, his wife and our two precious granddaughters. We have taken over the baby's room and she sleeps with us. At one time we had 12 people staying with us.
     
    Dixie Trosclair
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Lost everything
    We lost everything -- our house, our car, our furniture. My daughter and I are staying with my mother. My husband is living with his aunt. After camping out overnight for six hours, standing in a long line of hundreds and hundreds of people on the day that FEMA finally came to give out prepaid cards to hurricane survivors, we were turned away by a FEMA agent because he said he only had 400 cards to give out and for us to come back the next day, or our cards could be mailed to us. I reminded him that most of us had no home for it to be mailed to. I shook my head as I pointed to the elderly and handicapped people in wheel chairs who had to be turned away. I asked if an exception could be made at least for them. But he said his hands were tied and that he had to go by FEMA's orders. Any help you can give us will be very much appreciated.
     
    Alfreda T.
    Pascagoula, Mississippi

    • Living temporarily in an apartment
    We lost everything, our home, all furniture, everything. We drove away with everything we had left in our car. And stayed in several places before coming to live with relatives in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, then finally to where we are now living temporarily in an apartment in Belair, Maryland. My husband and I very much appreciate all the help you have given us.
     
    Marva W.
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • Terrible Dreams
    Our home was completely destroyed. We had to relocate. We bought a trailer, which is costing more than the home where we lived. My elderly parents and I live together. I help take of them - physically and financially. We did not leave our home the day of the hurricane because we were 22 feet above sea level and in a no flood zone (We did not have flood insurance for this same reason). My parents lived in this home (destroyed by Hurricane Katrina) for 57 years … They are devastated, and so am I. In addition to the loss of our home, my father was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in July. His cancer medication costs $583.00 -- this is one prescription!
    During the storm, my father and I sat in chairs on the kitchen counter and my mother and dog floated on the couch. It was terrible. I have had terrible dreams about that day, yet I was remarkably calm during the storm.
    Elizabeth A. Wilkinson
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Stay alive during the storm
    We had to swim across the street to a 2nd story home to stay alive during the storm. Our house was totally destroyed. A great aunt and uncle died last year. And we were able to rent their vacant home. Once we hear from insurance we plan to buy/build another home if they pay us enough.
     
    Jeffrey Creel
    Ocean Springs Mississippi

    • Devastating
    Evacuated from N.O. with some items. Hurricane Katrina was devastating. My boyfriend's family took us in with 30 other family members.
     
    Rhonda White
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • Can't go back
    We can't go back to our home because it was damaged. It was totaled.
     
    Barbara White
    Harvey, Louisiana

    • Very kind
    I lost everything from my car, job, clothing, etc. The Harry family was very kind to open up their home to my entire family for over a month.
     
    Teresa Magee
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • All interior furnishings destroyed
    (We) had 6½ inches of water in our home. All interior furnishings destroyed.
     
    Joel and Mary Newbaker
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Buried my wife 2 days before the storm
    I lost everything. And I buried my wife 2 days before the storm hit. My granddaughter and husband opened their doors to me for as long as I needed.
     
    Daniel Magee, Sr.
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • A total loss
    We had a total loss of home, clothes, van, car, & etc. We are also jobless. We lost our job. We resided with Mark & Kesha Harry.
     
    Pauline & Daniel Magee, Jr.
    Grand Prairie, Texas

    • Lost everything in the storm
    My daughter and myself lost everything in the storm, even my car. My daughter and I lived with my sister and her husband until we were able to get an apartment from housing in Arlington, TX.
     
    April Magee & Sheldon Bruno
    Arlington, Texas

    • Walking through the high waters
    We made our way to the Superdome walking through the high waters. It was so chaotic (fighting & shooting) inside the Dome. We decided to sleep outside and wait for the bus. We were separated from our mother and little brother.
     
    Daniel & Roanna Johnson
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • Had to evacuate
    Our home took on 7½ ft. water & (we) had to evacuate to our daughter's home with 3 families living there.
     
    Francis Wayne and Genevieve Creel
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Still blessed
    Evacuated from N.O. (with) just a few items thinking I would go back in a couple of days. As we all know Hurricane Katrina was devastating. But still blessed because my family is alive. My sister and her husband was nice enough to take in over 30 of my family members.
     
    Sean Harry
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • Mother's funeral
    We lost everything due to the flooding. Our mother's funeral was on Saturday and we fled the city on Sunday.
    Nathan & Pat Fears
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • Much damage
    Much Damage from Hurrican Katrina.
     
    Nathan Newbaker
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Could not find my sons
    After Hurricane Katrina hit, I was taken to the Alliance Center. Could not find my sons but did find them on E-Mail and that is how I came to Dallas to be with my sons and grandchildren.
     
    Myrtis Alexander
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • Katrina destroyed my house
    Hurricane Katrina destroyed my house.
     
    Matthew Skrmetta
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Wind damage
    I have wind damage and my tree and my neightbors tree fell and caused damage also.
     
    Caroline S. Evans
    Grand Prairie, Texas

    • God is good
    My name is Revertta Coleman. Me and my five children live in Grand Prairie TX. To tell my story I would love to, because God is good to me.
     
    Revertta Coleman
    Grand Prairie, Texas

    • Blown away
    House on Front Beach was completely blown away. I am 93 yrs of age.
     
    Margaret Kuluz
    Biloxi Mississippi

    • 7 1/2 ft water
    7 &1/2 ft water in home by Hurricane Katrina.
     
    Wayne Creel Jr.
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Separated by the flooding
    Our family was separated by the flooding. We arrived in Dallas at different times and were reunited at the Harry family's home.
     
    Shelton Bruno and Denise Piere
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    • House destroyed
    House destroyed by "Katrina."
     
    Mary Skrmetta
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Watched in horror
    During Katrina I was across the street from my home. I watched in horror all my belongings being flooded. Our house sits on stilts at 18.9 feet above sea level. The water was pushed in another 4 feet meaning 22.9 feet of water surrounded my house. I have lost all contents inside my home, all vehicles and must rebuild! I have faith God will give my family the strength to continue our lives through this ordeal!
     
    Donna Cantrell
    Biloxi, Mississippi
     
    • House destroyed
    House destroyed by "Katrina."
     
    Mary Skrmetta
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Watched in horror
    During Katrina I was across the street from my home. I watched in horror all my belongings being flooded. Our house sits on stilts at 18.9 feet above sea level. The water was pushed in another 4 feet meaning 22.9 feet of water surrounded my house. I have lost all contents inside my home, all vehicles and must rebuild! I have faith God will give my family the strength to continue our lives through this ordeal!
    Donna Cantrell
    Biloxi, Mississippi
     

    • House destroyed
    House destroyed by "Katrina."
     
    Mary Skrmetta
    Biloxi, Mississippi

    • Watched in horror
    During Katrina I was across the street from my home. I watched in horror all my belongings being flooded. Our house sits on stilts at 18.9 feet above sea level. The water was pushed in another 4 feet meaning 22.9 feet of water surrounded my house. I have lost all contents inside my home, all vehicles and must rebuild! I have faith God will give my family the strength to continue our lives through this ordeal!
     
    Donna Cantrell
    Biloxi, Mississippi
    Bicycle Give-Away Letters (2004)
    Bicycle Giveaway Letters (2004)

    Underprivileged children generally ask for so little because they are used to having so little. We were only too happy to present brand new bicycles to a number of them during Christmas 2004. Below are a few of the many letters that we received from parents leading up to our 2004 Bicycle Give-Away. These heartbreaking stories are being presented with spelling and punctuation intact. All last names, addresses and phone numbers have been omitted in order to maintain privacy.
     
    • Kids want to have Christmas
    I am a single parent with 7 children. I have 5 boys and 2 girls. I have a job but it's still hard trying to make ends meet. My bills is more than my pay check, My Kids want to have Christmas but we have to make a choose. We can have Christmas and don't eat or be homeless. My Kids is very special to me. They are doing so well in school and they love Christmas. My Kids names are Antwan 16 yrs old, Bryant 14 yrs old, Shakisa 13 yrs old, David 12 yrs old, Sanchez 11 yrs old, Mia 5 ½ yrs old -- Bike and Carlos 5 yrs old -- Bike. I ask my kids what they wanted for Christmas and they told me whatever I can afford. (We donated two bikes plus helmets -- 12/21/2004)

    Chardrie S.
    • Christmas help for my two children
    I am writing this letter seeking Christmas help for my two children and my niece and two nephews. There ages are 12, 13, 12, 18months & 2 yrs old. My brother was murder February 6, 2004. At that time I lost my job and bills started to pile up. Since then I have found a partime job. But its barely enough to make my bills. So it (leaves) nothing for anything else to buy.
    My goal is to try to bring some joy into my family life since the tragedy that happen to our family. My brother was my niece and nephew soul provider and they will receive little or nothing with him gone this year. If you can help please do. (We donated one bike plus helmet -- 12/14/2004)

    Shaunder B.
    • Grandmother of three boys
    I am the grandmother of three boys. They are 6, 8 and 10 years old. They are the apples of my eye. They have been with me for the last three years. We have been doing okay but this year wasn't a very good one. I have a job but its only for 30-34 hours per week. I was out of work for a while, so all the money I get, I try to catch up on the bills, and buy food.
    This year my boys had very good report cards (like last year), and I am so proud of them. I just want them to wake up Christmas morning and be happy. They are young and it isn't their fault that I can't get them the games and toys that they are asking for. I am doing my best to keep a roof over their heads and food in their mouths.
    My youngest one is as big as the others. He and the 10 year old both wear a size 8 reg and some size 10. The middle one is so skinny; he wears a size 8 slim. They are so excited about the holiday coming because they think Santa is bringing them something. I told them that they are so many children out there asking Santa for things so don't get their hopes up to high. I just hope that after reading this letter, someone would take pity on my boys and try to make their holiday a joyful one. We are not asking for a whole lot, but whatever you can do would be grateful, AND if not we know someone out there must be worst off then us.
    Again, I ask for nothing for myself, just something for my three musketeers. Thanking you in advance for reading our letter. (We donated two bikes plus helmets -- 12/11/2004)

    Grandma and the Boys
    • All I have is my faith and my 5 children
    I can imagine that your receiving letter after letter and you might not even get chance to read mine, But all I have is my faith and my 5 children. I haven't always been down like this but it seems this year I have too much on my plate sort of spoken. I was injured on my job and shortly after that relieved of my duties there and it seems like every sense I've been struggling to keep up with everything as I did before. I have 5 children 16, 15, 10, 7, 3 and there wonderful children never complaining or even asking for much because the bigger children realize it's been hard. But out of my 5, 2of them have vision problems and my 10 yr old had chronic asthma and severe allergies to dust which leaves him doing home schooling and my daughter been put in a vision program.
    Its hard because I try to keep everything normal as the days go by. But the holidays are the toughest because extra money is needed and I really don't have it. I make all ends meet for big things but I don't have extra money for gifts, clothes, etc. I don't think you'll even get a chance to read this. But as God says what is for me is for me. So if you do I'm Blessed with any assistance I may get and my children thank you too. We are a very private family so people don't really know of our needs. I'm not ashamed. I have just been told I don't have it too many times. God Bless You. (We donated two bikes plus helmets -- 12/16/2004)

    Lisa F.
    • In desperate need of help
    I am writing you this letter because I am in desperate need of help due to my fiancé passing away last month. I am having a hard time due to the death and also having financial problems because I am in the process of moving. I was having problems with my house that I am currently living in and I was forced to leave. I have been struggling because I also have to come up a rent security deposit that I don't have. I have sacrifice a lot to keep a roof over my head and make sure my kids have a nice holiday. I can't make ends meet right now. I would just like to make my sons (Brian 13) & (Ricky 7) holiday joyful. I would greatfully appreciate anything that you can do for me and my family. (We donated two bikes plus helmets -- 12/21/2004)

    Julia J.

    • Bless my kids and I this Christmas
    I am writing this letter because I have two children Alexis and Alaya by the age of 7 and 9 years old. My youngest daughter has Cerebral Palsy and I'm a single mom with little to no income. I'm asking Santa to bless my kids and I this Christmas. (We donated two bikes plus helmets -- 12/13/2004)

    Alicia T.

    • A very nice Christmas
    I am writing asking for help for my son and my grandchildren. I have them in my care at this time, 16, 9, 8, 3. I would like them to have a very nice Christmas, I am not able to give them a nice Christmas. After I pay my rent we do not have nothing left to do nothing with. I can't get around, had so many surgeries on my legs. I had a severe heart attack, lucky to be living, poor circulation, and chronic edema, also Type 1and 2 diabetes; take lots of medicine and insulin.
    I am asking for a miracle to happen for my kids this year. Every year nothing ever happen for us. Any kind of toys would be appreciated. I am in need of all kind of help. If I didn't need the help I wouldn't be asking. I (am) unable to get out to seek help. Could someone please help us have a nice and merry Xmas this year. Every year I write and ask for help and nothing take place. May God Bless yours and my family. Thank you. (We donated three bikes plus helmets -- 12/16/2004)

    Daisy B.
     
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