Patricia Marshall was outside doing yard work when she decided to grab a glass of water. That’s when she discovered her Jerome home was filling with smoke. She rushed to get her daughter, her daughter’s friends, and her pets out safely and then watched as the fire spread throughout the house she had purchased just 20 months earlier.
“It was pretty devastating,” she said.
Not long after, a team of Red Cross volunteers arrived. They gave Patricia’s daughter a blanket and stuffed animal handed out comfort kits with items like a toothbrush, soap, and shampoo, and provided Patricia with financial assistance to meet her family’s most immediate needs such as food, clothing, and lodging. And just as importantly, they offered her a shoulder to lean on.
“I have never felt so blessed,” she said. “That emotional support was probably the most important -- just to let me cry or get mad – which was what I needed.”
Those volunteers have since followed up with texts and phone calls to see how she’s doing.
“That means so much and keeps my spirits up,” she said.
Red Cross volunteers respond to a home fire almost every other day in Idaho, helping families begin the road to recovery. Besides providing the basics like food and lodging assistance, the Red Cross connects clients with mental health services and helps replace medications. They also teach families about fire safety and install free smoke alarms in Idaho homes.
Patricia said she had no idea Red Cross did all of this but is eternally grateful.
“When I’m able to get back on my feet, Red Cross is going to be at the top of my list to help,” she said.
To learn more about the Red Cross disaster response including how you can support this work, visit redcross.org/Idaho.