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Community hopes to bring family home for the holidays

Members of an Oklahoma City neighborhood have a goal of placing a family back in its home after a fire left it in near ruins.
BY NASREEN IQBAL Published: December 8, 2012

Winter in Oklahoma is no place to be without a coat. But after a November fire caused by faulty wiring in their Oklahoma City home left Joenita and Shelby Rhoades with virtually nothing, that is the reality they faced.

An anonymous donor gave their adopted 3-year-old son a coat to keep him warm during the family's time of struggle.

Shelby Rhoades has been a factory worker for more than a decade at Sooner Beer Co., and his boss gave the family a trailer home to stay in until their house is repaired, said Amy Mayen, a neighbor and friend of the family.

“I would really love it if we could have the home ready for them to move back into by Christmas. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and the days seem to go by so fast but I still think we can do it,” Mayen said.

Driven to help the Rhoades in any way possible, Mayen has begun posting ways that people can help the family on her blog at

She created a Facebook event called “Operation: Home for Christmas” where people can learn about the Rhoades family and how they can help.

Mayen said the Rhodes family has received small private donations from neighbors and church members.

“I got an email today from a woman who wants to help with labor, and a woman who wants to donate blankets and bedding. Thank God for these people,” Mayen said on her blog.

Shelby Rhoades said he is taken aback by the support he has received from his community.

“The main thing I want everybody to know is how much I appreciate their help. Amy, and our other neighbors, and everyone else, they just stepped in to help without me even asking for it. I really appreciate it,” he said.

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