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Gifts from the Heart and RiverKings team up again

November 28, 2006 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Mississippi RiverKings News Release

SOUTHAVEN --- "This is what Christmas is all about," Debbie Nichol from Horn Lake said as she selected a paper ornament off the "Gifts From the Heart" tree on the concourse at last Friday's RiverKings game. Every year, Nichol sponsors a couple of kids in the community through the Gifts From the Heart tree program. "It means more to me to give than to get," Nichol commented. "I am very blessed. My family is very blessed. This is a great way to give back."

Five years ago, Debbie Houck began Gifts From the Heart. "Years back I fell into some rough times and people helped me out. When I got into the position where I could, I wanted to payback what was given to me," Houck shared.

For four years now, Houck has been bringing the Gifts From the Heart tree and ornaments to the RiverKings home games, seeking support from the fans. "This will be the only Christmas these kids have," Houck said. "Each sponsor selects a child's ornament which provides them the youth's first name, gender, age, clothing size, what they need, and one gift they want. There is no limit to how much the sponsor can give."

Based off the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program, Gifts From the Heart helps 500 children within DeSoto County. In the past, Gifts From the Heart was able to support nearly 1,000 kids. With the lack of sponsors and business ads this year, the program was forced to cut back.

Sponsorships for many children are still needed. Sponsors, should they prefer, can donate monetarily and program volunteers will do the gift shopping. Sponsors should sign up with Houck at the Gifts From the Heart booth located behind Section 117, during the December 1 and December 3 home RiverKings games.

"Attending the RiverKings games is a great way to get the program out there," Houck commented. "There is an obvious need in our own backyard and I would like to thank everyone who is helping by sponsoring a child. I want to take this time to let you know what a wonderful loving statement you are sending out to these families in their time of need."

Gifts From the Heart is proud to partner with Toys for Tots and the Marine Corps. Any child not sponsored, through the Gifts From the Heart program, the Marine Corps and Toys for Tots will provide for; making sure that every child receives at least one gift under their Christmas tree.

The RiverKings organization is proud to support the Gifts From the Heart and the children of DeSoto County. "We are honored to have worked with Gifts From the Heart for the past four years," commented Michael Rice, RiverKings Community Development staff member. "Our fans have really stepped up to the plate and supported this case helping make it a success."

For further information on Gifts From the Heart, or to sponsor a child please contact Debbie Houck at 662.280.9111 or via email nmsarc@msn.com.

Fans will be able to support the Gifts From the Heart program further by bringing, or purchasing at the game, a teddy bear (stuffed animal) to toss onto the ice when the 'Kings score their first goal against the Wichita Thunder Friday, December 15, at 7:05pm at the DeSoto Civic Center. Fans who bring a stuffed animal to the game will receive a discount of $5 off the originally $12 red level ticket price.

For further information on the Teddy Bear Toss please contact the RiverKings at 662.342.1755.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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