By Rich Woodruff
No other non-government agency has the capacity and footprint of the American Red Cross. Across the state, region and country, supplies are available when and where needed. One of the mainstays of initial care is the Red Cross “Comfort Kit.” They primarily contain toiletry items to provide immediate care for the basics. But they also provide not just physical comfort but often a sense of security, dignity and hope for someone who may have lost literally everything and must start over. In many cases that comfort kit may be the only thing they own during that darkest hour of need. For a child, it might include a stuffed animal.
The kits come in various shapes and sizes from basic toiletries to more robust contents such as flashlights, work gloves and first aid kits. In Little Rock, AR, one thousand of these kits were given by a single donor who wished to remain anonymous. They were also painstakingly assembled one by one with versions for men, women and children.
Other basic warehouse supplies include water, ready to eat meals, clean up and relief supplies, paper goods, cots and many other items needed to provide comfort and care for all in need. The mission of the Red Cross to “prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergency” becomes evident when you walk into a Red Cross warehouse. You also see the “generosity of donors” and the “power of volunteers” who pay for, collect, sort, load, ship and distribute where needed.