Beyond giving out items, the Red Cross worked to distribute over $11 million in cash assistance to local people, providing them the freedom to buy what they need when they need it for their families. For many, the money was the first step in their recovery journey and provided reassurance that they would overcome the challenges presented by Dorian and bring some normalcy back to their lives.
Abaco resident Sheikadena Sawyer didn’t even have shoes on as she got off the plane after evacuating. “This is it,” she remembers thinking as the roof started to bend and peel off the school she was in being used as a shelter during the storm, holding hands with her kids. A nurse by training, Sheikadena did not stop bandaging, stitching, applying pressure to anyone who walked into that space on Abaco the day the storm struck. Upon receiving financial assistance from the Red Cross days later, she realized she was being reunited with a volunteer who first helped her off the plane while shoeless. “You came from all over to do this? Angels. You are Red Cross angels,” she says through tears welling in her eyes. “This is for my kids, they went back to school yesterday and now I can afford to get them their uniforms, workbooks and new clothes. All I can say is thank you.”