By: Michelle Palansky

Recently, the Red Cross provided assistance to a family in Saskatchewan who survived a catastrophic house fire.

The family was barbecuing on their deck. The son stepped out to check on dinner but hesitated when he reached the grill. The barbecue seemed far too hot, so he returned to the kitchen to fetch some oven mitts. Just as he crossed the threshold, the propane tank exploded.

Fortunately, the son was inside the door far enough to be protected from the blast and the family escaped unscathed but the entire house was engulfed in flames and burned to the foundation.

The family had somewhere to stay but needed other necessities including groceries and clothing. Sue, a Red Cross staff member, responded the next day. She was told they were providing help to a family consisting of a husband, wife and son. Thinking that the son was a child, Sue brought along the bin of Red Cross comfort teddy bears. When she realized the son was an adult, she set the bin to the side and continued on with the meeting to provide assistance.
One of the Red Cross teddy bears
At the end of the appointment, the 25 year-old son asked about the bin of bears. When Sue explained that they were comfort bears for children in distress, the son asked if he could have one. And then the mother asked if she too could have a bear.

As they held their bears, everything seemed to sink in. They came very close to losing their son and their house was destroyed. Everyone, including Sue, got a little teary-eyed. The comfort of the small bears allowed the family to shake off their initial shock and release their grief.

Sometimes it is the small (furry) things that help the most in times of trouble. Help provide small and large comforts to people when they need it most: volunteer with the Canadian Red Cross.