Yesterday was my first day as a American Red Cross Disaster Action Team volunteer. Storms moved through western Kentucky on Wednesday night, and several families had damaged homes and they needed help.
I can’t tell you how good it felt to be able to help those folks. Both families couldn’t have been more grateful, and both families couldn’t have been more in need of the help. Neither had the resources to be able to recover without assistance.
My first thought when the Red Cross office called to see if I could go out and help was that I didn’t think the storms were that bad. Of course, they could have been worse in other areas, and indeed they were. The other reason the affected families needed help was that they just didn’t have shelter that was sturdy enough to weather a strong storm like that.
One family was in an older mobile home that had flying debris come crashing through the roof. Think about it. It really doesn’t take much to poke a hole in a tin can. The other family lived in a small house, a shack really, with an old metal roof that was ripped off the house.
Those structures had both been around for a long time and weathered many storms over the years, but it was just a matter of time before they would sustain serious damage. They just weren’t sturdy like the brick and mortar homes in the area that were virtually untouched by wind and rain. Their luck ran out Wednesday night.
Every day is a struggle for poor people. Just meeting basic needs is tough, and often times those needs are met with the minimum required. So the roofs over their heads are just as fragile as everything else in their lives. Lives lived on the edge are just one thunderstorm away from total catastrophe.
Those folks I met yesterday really needed assistance from the Red Cross. I truly can’t imagine what they would have done without it.
God bless the Red Cross.
You can learn more about becoming a disaster volunteer here.