By Galyn Glick Martin, of Nashville, TN
In a disaster, the American Red Cross is always there to take care of the most basic physical needs – food, shelter, and clothes. But what’s striking about the Red Cross is the organization’s ability to offer emotional support so soon after a disaster occurs.
When Nashville and the surrounding counties were flooded in May 2010, the community pulled together and offerred support to victims in so many ways that it was genuinely overwhelming. There was a great deal of work to do in the flood’s aftermath, and there was very little time to process the emotional impact.
As my husband and I worked in the yard the day after the flood, two Red Cross volunteers stopped by to check on us. They asked how we were doing and what we needed. At that point I felt overwhelmed. It was as if we needed everything and yet nothing at all. But they asked us helpful, open-ended questions, making it clear that we could talk as much as we needed or wanted to. Then they gave us teddybears for our daughters.
That evening, we give the bears to the girls and told them that they were a gift from the Red Cross. Their radiant faces shined with pure joy and that was when I cried.
It may sound hokey but those two small stuffed bears, toys that couldn’t clothe or feed anyone, started the girls’ healing. A bit of their childhood innocence was restored by this gift of love and I think the girls were reminded that even in times of trouble, they were loved and protected. I will always be grateful to the American Red Cross for helping heal those psychic wounds.
This guest post was contributed by the author to Writers for the Red Cross. Writers for the Red Cross is a month-long celebration that brings writers, readers, editors, literary agents and independent bookstores together to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross during Red Cross Month.