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Rising from Ruin is an on-going MSNBC.com special report chronicling two coastal Mississippi towns, Bay St. Louis and Waveland, as they rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

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WAVELAND, Miss. – Santa’s elves eschewed the big guy’s sleigh and showed up in a U-Haul truck Thursday to hand out toys, clothing and Christmas trees to dozens of Katrina victims in this devastated community.

“The town of Lincoln City, Ore., drove five days to bring you this stuff,” local organizer Ron Hill told the eager crowd of moms, dads and kids who lined up along the truck in a Highway 90 parking lot. “Everything in this parking lot is for y’all.”

Stuffed animals, bedding, hats, shoes and toys spilled from cardboard boxes inside the distribution area that was cordoned off with yellow emergency tape. A stack of 50 carefully bundled Christmas trees lay in the center of the bounty.

“The only thing we ask is if you need it, take it; if you don’t need it, don’t take it,” Hill told the members of the crowd, many of whom had arrived with empty boxes and bags to carry away their gifts.

The U-Haul, pulling a trailer loaded with the trees, was driven from Lincoln City, on the central Oregon Coast, by Gordon McMinn and Chris Hollingsworth. McMinn said the give-away was the idea of a Lincoln City woman who spent time volunteering in the Katrina zone and returned to Oregon wanting to do more. Starting Dec. 2, she rallied a handful of key volunteers to begin the gift drive and “this is what three weeks later we’ve got right here,” McMinn said.

Lisa McIntyre of Bay St. Louis stopped by with her daughter-in-law, granddaughter and sister to select a tree, decorations and toys. “It’s nice for the kids,” she said.

“Pretty good for not being advertised, huh?” asked a beaming Hill, whose own white beard and kind eyes are perfect for playing Santa but somewhat undermined by the dark hair that peeks from beneath a Pelican Pub & Brewery cap.

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For what they spend on cruise ship FEMA could buy them all new house for LESSSSSSS

mY god is our government a bunch of MORONS

what a wonderful extension of love and caring this holiday season, at least if only for a few minutes these children had no worries and felt like children again, i wish everyone could help as much as this team from oregon did..

The American people's generosity never seizes to amaze me!

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus....

It would have been nice if Christ where mentioned
in this. Their lives were spared for a reason nothing is coencidence.Hopefuly it was in his sprit this was
done. This the season to give thanks.
I am thankful to people who do good works but without
faith it is all for not.

bless the good folks of Lincoln City...Merry Christmas to all

Ron Hill and his volunteers have earned their way into heaven. This is another great story for next years made for tv's christmas special. It's something that more people need to know about, not just people who stay with the updates... Just by going there, it will change their lives. I don't know to what degree, but it will.

what does christ have to do with it? Its a story about a caring town and some charitable people who want to help spread good will and help the needy. Now if they had been handing out nativities, i could see why christ should have been mentioned but they werent - so get over it.

Bravo to the Hill Team, You are clearly doing Gods Work.Tears of joy are my response.Thank You

Too bad there are not more places that thought of adopting a city. Kudos to Lincoln City!!!

I think it is WONDERFUL the way that everyone has gotten together to help these people. FEMA could do much more, but.. THOSE CRUISE SHIPS ARE JUST SOOOO IMPORTANT! hah.. Well.. I am glad that God has blessed them all with their lives, because with out him they wouldn't still be here today! GOD BLESS and Merry Christmas

There are examples of this kind of generosity all over the country. The town I reside in MN adopted a town in LA, Natchitoches, and we had three caravans go down with supplies throughout the first few months of the hurricane relief efforts. Towns from all around our area participated, and the drivers at times drove all night to get the needed supplies to the town. The city of Mankato and the towns around them responded with tremendous generosity and heart, and we only stopped when the mayor of the town said he had enough for the remaining refugees. I know our city is not the only one in the US that has done this, and I commend the folks that drove all the way from Oregon. The outpouring of love, kindness and generosity we have seen since the hurricanes does restore your faith in the human race.

Why everytime someone or a town does a humane act of goodwill and caring does someone have to say I wish they would have mentioned "Christ". Does that mean someone who does believe in "Christ" is incappable of doing a good and caring act. I have to agree with Laura's earlier pst. The people did a wonderful thing lets not overlook that and turn in into a religious debate Please

Christ, still don't know myself for what he expects of me. But he really did expect this group to help out and they answered his call whether they knew it or not. Wish me and everyone in this world would think same and it would be a WONDERFUL place to live!

God bless Lincoln City and the people there with loving hearts!!!

someone said that they are thankful of good works but if without faith it is for naught. God/Christ said if it is good work then it is done in my name. I don't remember the exact scripture, but if it is good work done then it is done in my Name.

Please.... use your heads for helping as opposed to self-promotion.... A perfect example is a truck was rented and gas / hotels purchased to drive #1000 bottles of to New Orleans... there was a picture and a write-up in the local paper... a real hero... when you break it down... The spent about $3000 (rental / gas / hotels / food, etc.) to deliver $500 worth of water... Let's use our heads folks... stop self-promoting and send the $$$ to the Red Cross....

Isn't it a great community that can pull together and send Santa in a U-haul to send hope and happiness!!!!!!!!!!

this went directly to the people -thats why it wasn't given to red cross-who knows where it goes when you give it to them??

I am happy to see help in Mississippi. You don't hear too much help efforts in that area. If there are any, they are not broadcasted like other places are.

why is it that people feel the need to bring up jesus no matter what's going on. it makes me sick how completely brainwashed this country is. those people did something good regardless of whether or not it was in the name of jesus. why do people feel they have to shove their religion down everyone's throat?

I don't think it has anything to do with self promotion Gman. It's a whole lot easier to write a check, but it's a lot more fulfilling to be there in person. As for sending $$$ to the Red Cross, think about this. The Red Cross regularly diverts money given 'in times of need' to other programs not connected with the disaster. Also, the director of the Red Cross makes almost $700k a year plus expenses. The director of the Salvation Army makes $13k and gets housing provided. What do you think the Red Cross is doing with your $$$$?

This is a wonderful gesture based on kindness, compassion and generosity. Whether done on a secular or religious basis, a giving heart is a giving heart and always welcomed by those in need.

Ha ha - I can't believe this nation. Everyone wants what they want. Don't mention Christ, object to Merry Christmas. Well let's make it:

Happy ChristHanuKwanzaa and forget it.


When did 'Born-Again Christians' get a monopoly on caring,empathy,charity,love and understanding?? Are the only good and moral people on this planet the ones who believe as you do and attend YOUR Church?Anyone in this great nation should take a close look at the Middle East and be very wary of what we could become if controlled by one religion--Have we forgotten why the Pilgrims came here to begin with?? We already know 'What Would Jesus Do'-The question is 'What will You Do'? Merry Christmas,Happy Holiday and G-d bless each of us.

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