When Laurie Ritchel agreed to foster two kittens through her church, little did she know how this small act of kindness would lead into changing someone’s life for the better.
After Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas, Kim Venable, who had been rescued by boat from her Beaumont home, contacted Laurie’s church for help taking in her two kittens until she could go home. In the rush to evacuate, the kittens scattered and couldn’t be located. Could Laurie find them and care for them until she could return?
“Of course!” Laurie said she hardly gave it a second thought. Laurie had just stepped up to volunteer with the American Red Cross to assist in the relief effort.
“I just want to help my community,” she explained. “I never thought that taking in these kittens and volunteering for the Red Cross would tie in together in any way.”
Laurie texted photos and updates on the two kittens she nicknamed “Scout and Boo” to Kim.
“I knew she was worried about them, and I felt this could ease her mind,” Laurie explained. Several days later she received a text from Kim stating that she had finally returned home, and was surprised to discover that the two kittens Laurie had rescued looked very similar to her own, but were not her kittens. These actually belonged to her neighbors. Her own kittens were safe and waiting for her on the porch of her home.
Laurie and Kim straightened out the mix-up and while chatting, Kim mentioned meeting a Red Cross lady purchasing supplies at Walmart for the local shelters and how nice she was.
It turned out that Laurie was the woman! Through this conversation, Laurie then found out that Kim had 22 family members living in her home. In her extended family, four had lost their homes. She also learned that Kim had some medical issues that needed to be quickly addressed, including the need of a wheelchair.
When Laurie returned to Red Cross headquarters, she passed Kim’s medical needs on to the Red Cross health services team and also asked the feeding team to add Kim to their route.
“The Red Cross was wonderful!” said Kim. Two nice ladies from the Red Cross came and brought me a wheel chair, food for both my dog and kitties and a goody bag of soap, toothpaste and bath supplies. I never expected such kindness. Thank you, Red Cross!”