Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Rosa Parks Day

December 3rd, 2005 12:31 AM

Making a Difference at Xmas This Year

From: "Casey Sweet"
Subject: Making a Difference
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 10:31:13


I am making a difference at Xmas this year, though I would not put it in the category of contribution of Cindy Sheehan or Rosa Parks. Nevertheless, I am adopting 4 Katrina families to make Xmas for and talking to everyone I can about it which has inspired others to adopt as well. I was surfing and found a site called and they were doing an angel tree. The woman who runs this site has really made a difference in many ways since Katrina - just because her name is Katrina and she had a long-standing website of that name that people spontaneously turned to for help and she answered the call. She fits on a list with Cindy and Rosa. I wrote an article for a professional organization which I included below in case someone who reads this has a desire to adopt. It will make an Xmas for kids and families where otherwise there would be none. It has been hugging enriching for me to think of these families, offer them some emotional support, and put together packages filled with decorations, stockings, and gifts. They are making a great Xmas for me.

Wishing you all the best and keep up the always great work.

A true supporter,

Casey Sweet

Are You Wondering How You Can Contribute? One Woman named Katrina Inspired Me! How can we give aid directly to those harmed in hurricane Katrina? A member talks about giving, especially in the holiday season.

New Orleans and other areas struck by Katrina stay in the front of my mind, and I find myself trying to imagine what has happened to the thousands of affected lives and livelihoods. In truth, I can’t imagine. I am safe and sound in my dry and protected in my home, looking comfortably towards the holidays.

Recently, as I was wondering about Katrina statistics, I went surfing online and found that one of the top results when typing in “Katrina” was a website set up by a woman named Katrina. Her site ( has been around for years to promote her website development business, but after the Katrina disaster she received hundreds of emails. She was moved to make a difference and decided to contribute her website to help with Katrina relief. It turns out that she has also contributed much of her life since then!

A local Virginia company donated a number of computers for her use, and then many people volunteered to help – running in and out of her house day and night. In the midst of all this, Katrina moved into a new house, adopted three children (who are siblings), and took care of her family. Her website consultancy business is pretty much on hold.

Initially, during the rescue phase of the catastrophe, families would call or email her site, and Katrina would contact rescuers in New Orleans to go to specific addresses. They estimate this resulted in helping 400 people being rescued. They also provided other services, such as matching up missing adults and children who were moved to different locations and finding homes for displaced people to live. Whatever was needed, this woman and her band of volunteers would lovingly find a way to do.

Her recent effort, which caught my attention, is the Katrina Angel Tree. Each "ornament" on the tree represents a family who has signed up in hopes that someone will assist in providing a Christmas for their household, particularly their children. Adopting a family is a commitment to connect with them (email and/or phone), and find out what they need and want for Christmas. It is not about extravagance, but rather, about providing some gifts where there may otherwise be none.

My husband and I have adopted 3 families, and our larger circle of relatives has adopted another three-generation family. There are more to be adopted, and the people at are hoping to match them all up. I have spoken with Katrina and another volunteer and concluded for myself that it is a sincere effort and motivated by love and generosity. (I was so moved by what one woman's heart can inspire that I wrote to Oprah asking her staff to consider Katrina for her Angel Awards.)

Please check out the website if you desire to make this type of direct and meaningful holiday contribution. It is a way we can give back and help others forget – for a day – the havoc that nature has brought to their lives. You will find all the information at under "Katrina Angel Tree, List of Families to Be Adopted." My hope is that others will also be moved to adopt families, plus tell groups you are involved with and other friends and family about this site. It truly is an opportunity to let other Americans know we care for them by wholeheartedly sharing and giving in the spirit of the season.

P. S. If you sign up to adopt it can take a couple of days to hear back and receive the family's information. Katrina and her volunteers have an influx of requests and it is all done in their free time.

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