Raising Money Via The Airwaves

Across East Texas Thursday morning, radio stations took to the airwaves, trying to raise money for the people who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.

At 6:00 a.m., people had already started answering the call for help. The East Texas Radio Group, KLTV and the Red Cross set up one of their live locations at The Green Acres Shopping Center in Tyler.

By late morning, the relief drive was already making a difference.

"We're pushing into the thousands now," says Amy Austin with the East Texas Radio Group.

106.5's Charlie O and Amy Austin were the voice for all of the storm evacuees who are now forced to start over.

"It's our job to take care of them," says Charlie O. And that's why we're out here trying to get as much money as we can."

Car after car, East Texans pulled in and pulled out their wallets.

"I am a native East Texan and I am not surprised at the outpouring of generosity of East Texans and we've just begun and we've already raised several thousand dollars," says Austin.

KLTV's Stephen Parr helped take the donations and jumped in to help Amy and Charlie O get the message on the air.

"We had one woman who said she didn't have a lot of money, but she gave $15 anyway," says KLTV 7's Stephen Parr. It doesn't take a lot to make a difference."

And it wasn't just money. East Texans, like Melaniea Johnson, had blankets, clothes, diapers and other necessities they wanted the Gulf Coast refugees to have.

"I went over to the shelter and it was breathtaking," says Melanie Johnson . It broke my heart. I saw little kids in pajamas and it just brought me to tears. They're helpless they don't have anywhere to go."

But what the people from Louisiana and Mississippi do have, are East Texans who care.

Dana Dixon, reporting. ddixon@kltv.com