1 minute readDisaster, Volunteers
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Oak Fire Response: How One 10-Year-Old is Making a Difference

Meet Taylor, the youngest helper at an American Red Cross shelter located in Mariposa, California. This ten-year-old from Oregon was in Mariposa County visiting her grandparents when they were evacuated by the Oak Fire late Friday night.

“This was my first time evacuating in my whole entire ten years,” Taylor explained. She collected her suitcase and cockatiel bird, Julie, while her grandma Miriam evacuated their home in Midpines.

On Saturday, she helped serve 100 sandwiches for lunch to evacuees and volunteers “just because a Red Cross volunteer asked, so I said sure!” Her excited spirit helped residents currently staying at the shelter feel better thanks to her big smile.

While she’s in the shelter with her grandma, her pet bird is being cared for by the Central California Animal Disaster Team. She checks on her bird often and even puts the cockatiel on a leash so she can get some sun outside.

She has spent the weekend in the shelter drawing because “that’s my favorite thing to do in school.” So far, while staying in the shelter, she’s made dozens of pictures for others and started selling homemade fans for 25 cents to help.

She shared that these activities are helping her cope too. “I was really scared [when we evacuated], you could see the flames. And my mom wasn’t here, so I had to be brave.”

Thank you, Taylor, for helping our feeding team and inspiring others through your resilience.

The Red Cross welcomes everyone into their shelters. Anyone in the affected areas that needs a safe place to stay should visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767), or download the free Red Cross Emergency App for shelter locations.

This story was originally shared on the American Red Cross Central California Region blog.