'Christmas Connection' Makes Christmas Merrier For Oklahomans

Friday, September 30th 2011, 7:41 pm
By: News 9

Ed Murray, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- This economy has a lot of us struggling to make ends meet, and that can be really stressful with the Christmas season coming.

More than a thousand Oklahoma County families will once again turn to the Christmas Connection for help with the holidays.

The late Barbara Fagin saw a need back in 1981 for an organization that could meet the seasonal needs of an entire community. From the start, Barbara and her volunteers made sure clients were treated with respect and dignity.

"It's not a welfare program. It's not saying that, I'm a loser," said Jan Ketola, Christmas Connection client. "It's saying that right now, I need some help."

Ketola was a single mother 20 years ago. Her son, Nathan, had a handicap. Money was tight, but the "Christmas Connection" took away those stressful questions of a mother.

"Is my son going to have the gifts under the Christmas tree? And, am I going to have to go so far into debt that it will take me all the next year to work my way back out of it," Ketola said.

The Christmas Connection mission is now four seasons of giving. The Southwest Oklahoma City store is open year-round to meet the need of low income families and seniors. But Christmas is still the biggest season.

Executive Director Shelley Dutton hopes this year's big fundraiser will jump start a time of giving so that more than 1,200 families will have a Merry Christmas.

"A $30 donation buys a new coat and a new toy for a child. A $30 donation buys a uniform set of two tops and two bottoms," Dutton said.

Thanks to Christmas Connection, Jan Ketola's son, Nathan, had a smile on his face.

Currently, Ketola works with several non profits. Having needed help in the past, she said it's even more joyful now to give back and share the love.