DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It has been a rough time for thousands of people on the Texas coast since Hurricane Harvey slammed on shore in late August. On this Christmas Eve, some of the evacuees are spending the holiday in North Texas, hoping to put memories of Harvey behind them.
Inside Lorie Anderson’s Plano apartment is a priceless gift.
“I’m just grateful to have a warm place for my kids. I’m grateful to have them here. They’re happy,” said Anderson.
While there is no tree or trimmings, the spirit of Christmas lives in Anderson’s heart and her home.
“Me and my kids, we don’t have Christmas presents. We don’t have the means, that’s not what we’re about,” said Anderson.
The life they left behind was swept away by Hurricane Harvey.
“We lived in Orange, Texas, which is four miles west of the Louisiana border,” said Anderson. “The water continued to rise. One day it got up to our doorstep, and I was like, ‘Uh, it’s time to go.'”
Anderson took shelter at her church until water poured in. She eventually ended up in Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.
“Most doors were closed in our face. We did not get help from any of the organizations in the area… none of the churches. A lot of people were very mean to us,” said Anderson.
Things changed when Red Cross connected her with Catholic Charities. It helped her with a down payment for an apartment and two months of rent.
Catholic Charities replaced just about everything they were forced to leave behind: toiletries, plates and kitchen utensils.
“Our next step is getting rooted here. Finding a home, finding vehicle so we can get around a little better,” said Anderson.
Things are continuing to look up for the family. Anderson started a new job a week ago.
She said the community has embraced her family, and they’ve now made several new friends.