Let’s do what we can to pitch in for everyone When a house burns up (or down, I’m never sure which way they burn), families can be left with little to nothing. Tables, chairs and kitchen counters might be lost in the fire but lost too are stuffed animals, photos, clothing, anything that was saturated with often-toxic smoke. As the fire fighters and paramedics leave, Red Cross volunteers arrive to help the families begin to piece their lives back together. They offer comforting words, a little money, and a road map to help the families take the first steps toward recovery. 

The volunteers are there to help whoever is in need, period. I’ve seen this first-hand as a volunteer myself. What a great thing! People show up to help people who really need it right then. No worrying about anything except trying to figure out how to best be of help. 

Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, sent out a letter to volunteers. In it she says: “As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and as a humanitarian organization, we stand proudly by the seven Fundamental Principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. These principles compel us to endeavor to provide services to anyone and everyone who need them in times of emergency. They also compel us to remain a neutral and impartial party so we can access and help people on all sides.

“In addition to this effort, the Red Cross is in vulnerable communities every day–providing services without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, class, sexual orientation or immigration status. During times of emergency, the Red Cross welcomes everyone to our shelters. We do not require identification from shelter residents or when installing smoke alarms or providing other services. We provide help to refugees here in the United States, the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere, and we go to great lengths to be seen as a beacon of hope for all people. This will not change. On a personal note, it’s the reason why I joined the American Red Cross and why I feel so privileged to serve with all of you.”

I think that’s a powerful statement. It basically says that we need to take care of people, especially those who are most vulnerable. 

On a related note, please read Kim Sharpe’s story about child abuse and neglect here in northern Colorado. It’s a sobering reminder that even in our idyllic area, we have children who live in fear and constant anxiety. Again, collectively we need to take care of the most vulnerable among us and not turn a blind eye to problems.

As Horton said as he defended the Whos, "A person's a person, no matter how small."