Oregon Girl Brings Joy And Toys For Local Kids

Santa Claus has come to Biloxi in the form of 11 year old Erin Chamberlain and she came Friday evening bearing a variety of toys from her home in Portland, Oregon.

She came up with the idea back in June.

"I was in church camp and God talked to me and He said I want you to help my kids, and this was even before the hurricane," said Chamberlain.

And now, almost four months after Katrina, her vision has come true.

With the help of private companies as well as first responders, schools and churches from the Portland area, Erin has brought nearly 26-thousand dollars worth of toys for the children of local emergency workers, who filled out cards saying what toy their children really wanted.

She understands their needs because her dad is in law enforcement.

"We contacted Gulfport and Biloxi folks- police, fire, and dispatchers and medical personnel- and asked them if there was something we could do for their children. We wanted to not get them something that they necessarily needed, but something that the kids wanted," said Erin's father Scott Chamberlain.

It was hard to figure out what 6-month old Emma wanted, and so her parents simply wrote the word "love".

Erin decided to give her this Build-A- Bear.

"It's been a very big blessing. They've come in, it's just an example of God's grace and love through other people and caring and concern from other places," said Emma's mother Ashley.

And this is what Erin really wanted for Christmas - to bring cheer to those who need it most.

"It feels like having this is enough, you know...to make all these kids smile. I mean it's like having one big giant I-pod, you know," said Chamberlain.

Erin says if she wasn't doing this, she would want an I-Pod for Christmas.

Erin and other volunteers will be distributing the remaining toys for the children Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon.