Our tragedy occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2009. My three daughters and I lived in a small, rural town in north-eastern Missouri in a small, two-bedroom home. The weekend prior, we had put up our Christmas tree and decorated our house for the Christmas season. Toward the middle of the week, we packed small bags for each of us to stay at my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving so we could spend time with extended family.
In the middle of one of our last nights before we were to go home, we received a call from the local police telling us that our house was on fire and asking if there was anyone at home. Thankfully, no one was, and I drove there immediately to find our house fully engulfed in flames.
I cannot truly describe the feeling of seeing such a sight, or the following days when we tried to fully comprehend what had happened. The fire had started in the bedroom that I shared with my two youngest children due to old/bad wiring, and we were told that if we had been home, we would not have made it out. The house burned to the ground and was a total loss, except for some items we had stored in the basement and my oldest daughter’s bible that ended up in the front yard mysteriously.
I do not know who notified the American Red Cross of our fire. I only know that they showed up like a hand from above to help us get back on our feet. We were lucky to have family and friends around to help us and that we had bags with essentials with us, so we were not without anything like some.
The weeks that followed were very much a blur as I tried to wrap my brain around what had happened and determine what the next steps were. The American Red Cross was able to get us the money we needed to replace the necessary things a family needs. You don’t realize how many things there are until you find yourself without them. Having them lift that burden from my shoulders truly allowed me to breathe easier in a very difficult time.
I had no idea that the American Red Cross provided this service and, ever since our fire, I have donated what I can every year to them to help others in need. I am not sure one can fully appreciate an organization like this unless you find yourself in a dire situation, which is unfortunate, but it is truly one of the most deserving and helpful organizations out there! Thank you!!
This holiday season, help families just like Amanda’s by making a financial donation to the American Red Cross. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.