WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - St. Patrick's Day 2010, Stacy Compton lost all of her possessions in a fire. She says the American Red Cross helped her get back on her feet. "It was almost instantaneous, the help that they gave us," says Compton.
After a fire, food, clothing, shelter and basic necessities are things the Red Cross gives to fire victims. Already in September they've been busy helping those in need.
A major hit came last week when nearly 30 people were displaced after an apartment fire in Marion. "It's a financial hit, but our hearts really go out to those families. We know how devastating that can be," says Felicia McNabb, the Executive Director of the Mountain Empire Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross helps with all disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, but fires make up 93 percent of the more than 74,000 disasters each year in the U.S. "It's been a busy September. July was also very busy, so we're looking for a very active fire season this year, unfortunately," adds McNabb.
Fire season typically picks up in November and December, but the volunteers here are always ready to help.
For fire victims like Stacy Compton, that help is priceless. "I don't know if you really can describe it. It's just overwhelming to go from everything, or even a little, to absolutely nothing," she said.
When disasters happen the Red Cross hands out 'Comfort Kits' that include necessities like toothbrushes, soap and hair brushes.
Here's a complete list of items used in the kits if you'd like to donate any of them: Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb or brush, soap, deodorant, shampoo, razor, shaving cream, sanitary napkins/tampons, after shave, bath powder, hand cream, washcloth, hand towel, diapers.
The Red Cross prefers donated items are full size, not travel size items.