Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Red Cross Helps Kids Cope

By Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross

Seven-year-old Karlie snuggled in close to her dad, Wade Freeman, under blankets as hard rain pounded on the roof of the United Methodist Church. Firefighters bussed the family to the Red Cross shelter when their North Charleston mobile home community flooded.

“It’s going to be a very rough ride,” Wade said. “But some things bring families together.”

Wade told Karlie and her brothers to pack a few things. She chose one of her favorite princess books, and for a little while the father and daughter escaped to a fantasy land where there’s always a happy ending.

Yet, this is no fairy tale for Karlie and the thousands of children impacted by flooding in South Carolina. Having to evacuate their home and leave their toys behind to go to an unfamiliar place can be confusing and frightening for a small child.

It’s times like these when families need comforting and help shows up in a red vest. Since the flooding began, Red Cross volunteers opened 30 shelters accommodating nearly 2,700 overnight stays in towns from the Lowcountry to Upstate offering a warm, dry place to sleep and hot meals to eat.

Many times volunteers come prepared with stuffed animals, toys and activities, which can bring a sense of security to little ones. It’s those small touches that help children feel safe and loved in the real world.    

After a major disaster, financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. You can help people affected by disasters like the flooding in South Carolina and countless other crises by making a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift helps provide food, shelter and more to those affected by disasters.

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