Tuesday, August 19, 2008

West Chicago Needed Our Help, Glad to Be There

A lot of people needed help from the Red Cross in the wake of West Chicago fire on Sunday night. In all, the Red Cross helped 71 residents of the apartment complex—26 of whom were kids. Our team of staff and volunteers served 90 meals and snacks, and mental health workers were there until 9 p.m. last night to open cases for residents. It was important to stay open late because many of those residents got up and went to work the next day, and we wanted to make sure it was easy for them to seek help.

I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to move on with your life after a fire, let alone to get up and go to work mere hours after your home was burned. But that’s a big part of why the Red Cross is there for people—to help people move forward. Our mental health volunteers counsel families about their plans for recovery, and sometimes just talking about it empowers people to look to the future. We also give people the means to be independent in the days following a disaster—giving them funds for things like a place to stay, dinner and a change of clothes. By giving to the Red Cross, you’re helping to give disaster victims these things—dignity and a plan.

The shelter is closed, but if you or someone you love was affected by the fire, you can still contact the Red Cross at (312) 729-6100.

-Kristin Claes is a Senior Writer for the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.

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