Red Cross Giving Day is March 28th and I want to encourage you to support the Red Cross financially on Giving Day not because of what I’ve heard or read but what the Red Cross did for me over a decade ago. For me, joining in with thousands of people to support the Red Cross is about paying it forward.
Things I can say with certainty about myself is I am strong and resilient. I’ve managed to stand when everything around me burned to the ground and I mean that literally. Oh, just writing those words made me shiver. It happened when I was in my third year of college, at the end of the fall semester as everyone around me prepped for Christmas my only focus was finishing the semester strong. I had been studying all day and took a break to shower and watch the Oprah Show when my roommate started banging on my bedroom door frantically screaming “It’s a fire!” I grabbed my jacket and we ran down the three flights of stairs in the row house we lived in and stood onto the sidewalk. l remember the date December 14th, I still remember all the neighbors standing looking on as our building and the one next door (where the fire originated) went up in flames. Fortunately, no one was hurt and I felt really grateful that my roommate was home to alert me. Besides trembling from the cold December winter air, I trembled in fear of what was going to happen in the immediate future. I was young, independent and very jaded so asking for help wasn’t even a consideration. I managed to call one friend who made a bleak promise to call me back. One woman made her way over to me and my roommate letting us know that she was a volunteer with the Red Cross would provide us hotel accommodations for up to two weeks until we figured out our living situation. It was then the reality of the situation set in, I was in for a challenge (which turned out to be a blessing in disguise for me but that’s another blog post). I felt as if I had just dropped into a safety net thanks to the Red Cross.
She patiently waited and when the firefighters told us we could go back into the building she was right there. I felt hopeful since I had somewhere to stay while I finished off the last few days of the semester. I was still able to study for my final exams in a safe place, thanks to the Red Cross. I can’t remember exactly how long I stayed at that hotel but it was between 2-3 days and the Red Cross took care of the bill. That experience made me very supportive of the Red Cross and the next month when I found a really wonderful job, I donated to them from my first paycheck to pay it forward. Just like people had donated and their money put a roof over my head during my worst hours. I want others to have that relief when small or big disasters affect their families. This is why I’ve been a big supporter of the American Red Cross annual Giving Day for the last few years. Giving to the Red Cross means a family wouldn’t have to worry about paying for a hotel when they need to find a new home. This is why financial donations are particularly important for those few hours after a disaster. For Giving Day, a gift of $88.50 can provide a family with food and blankets for one day. So