|Photo courtesy of American Red Cross|
When I was a little girl, my dad’s friend, who was the town sheriff, gave me a white teddy bear, which I ended up naming after him. Rex, like his namesake, made me feel safe. Recently I unpacked a small bunny wearing worn out pink overalls, and while I don’t remember her name, I do remember carrying her around everywhere when I was young. She made me feel needed and less alone. Now that I’m older, I don’t rely on stuffed animals like I used to, but I still have one on my bed: it’s a ball-shaped, silly-looking black sheep my favorite uncle gave me. When I put him on my bed every morning, I remember there is someone who loves and cares about me.
Most of us grew up with that one object to which we felt attached—whether it was a stuffed animal, pillow, blanket or remnants of something that was no longer recognizable. Their presence—maybe the softness of their fur or the reassurance that they would never leave—made us feel safe, loved and needed.
In a disaster, children often lose their favorite stuffed animal or blanket and need something to redirect their attention and bring them comfort. This Valentine’s Day, consider sharing your love by making a donation to the Red Cross and sponsoring Piper the Puppy for a child who has lost his home due to a disaster. Your donation helps provide food, shelter and relief to the family in need—all very important—but Piper will bring much needed comfort to a child who feels confused, alone and afraid. And while your recipient will delight in receiving a plush puppy, in years to come he will remember that there was someone who cared about him and brought him comfort when he most needed it.