It can be difficult for people when they are impacted by disasters, especially if they have to leave their homes and spend time with other family members or at a shelter. Many of us can't imagine what that would be like. Hopefully, many of us will not have to experience that.
But can you imagine what it must be like for a child to have to stay at a temporary shelter, sleeping on cots, surrounded by strangers without any of the comforts of home? It can be hard for children to understand that it might be too dangerous to return home right now.
This was the case for one little girl at a shelter in Goldsboro, NC. Lieutenant Stokes, the officer in charge there, was visiting the shelter, providing food to the residents, when his own daughter befriended the little girl from the shelter. His daughter spent the day playing and coloring with the young shelter resident and learned that it was going to be her birthday the next day.
After leaving the shelter for supplies, Lt. Stokes shared this story with some of the employee's at his local Sam's Club where much of the food he had been preparing was being purchased. The employees were so moved that they committed to help in anyway they could, providing a cake, some balloons, and presents for the girl.
So, today, while so many people remain displaced from their homes and while flood waters continue to crest in rivers throughout eastern North Carolina, one little girl will be able to celebrate her birthday thanks to the kindness of the compassionate Sam's Club employees and The Salvation Army.
Serving in response to a disaster isn't about simply providing food and water for people. For us, it is about ministering to people's needs. It is about learning about what is important to them and helping them to remain encouraged during what could otherwise be a discouraging time. We want people to know how much they are valued and cared for.
We want to provide people a sense that they are loved.