21st Annual Asgard Toy Run A Success Despite Katrina

The Asgard Motorcycle Clubs annual toy run is always both an awe inspiring and welcomed site.

"They're like the giant teddy bears that they bring," says Sister Rebecca Rutkowski, Director of Catholic Social and Community Services. "They're tough on the outside but they're like marshmallow on the inside."

But their destination has changed this year, from the Knights of Columbus storage house in Biloxi to the Gulfport Drag Strip.

"With Katrina we took a lot of damage," says Tom Easter, Grand Knight of Biloxi's Knights of Columbus Council 1244. "As a matter of fact our Hall was destroyed inside. The structure is still there."

The Asgard's method of collecting donations is different as well.

"We hated to go out and ask the coast, which has supported our run for years, for help," says Asgard President Hagar. "But all this outside help came in, in an outpouring down here. They sent food, toys, gift certificates, and cash donations."

And the points of distribution by Catholic Charities will be more wide spread.

"Were going to probably have at least 12 points of distribution simply because so many people affected by Katrina don't have vehicles to get to our outreach offices, says Sister Rebecca. "And of course we don't even have some of our outreach offices."

And that outreach is reaching beyond the 17 South Mississippi counties they traditionally serve.

"We're going to everything from New Orleans to Mobile area, trying to stretch is out as far as we can," says Hagar.

But the goal is the same as it's been for the past 20 toy runs,. to help the underprivileged have a happy holiday. A group made much larger by the Hurricane.

"We'll be taking toys to tents," says Sister Rebecca. "We'll be taking toys to Fema Trailers. So it will be much more meaningful this year."