Building Bridges from Despair to Hope

Despair. Imagine…there you are. It’s the middle of the night. You’re standing on the street, barefoot with only the hurriedly-grabbed clothes on your back. You’re watching your dwelling burn to the ground. Your pockets are empty. What do you do? Where do you start? Where will you stay? What will you eat? What will you wear?

The American Red Cross respond to nightmares like this every 8 minutes across the U.S. – 180 times a day. The disasters vary from home fires (the most common disaster) to floods, tornados, hurricanes and the like. Home fires kill more people than all other natural disasters combined in the U.S.

Thanks to generous donors, and dedicated volunteers, the Red Cross is often able to be on the scene of a disaster within 2-3 hours. Sometimes within 20-30 minutes. In addition to emotional support and helpful counsel, the Red Cross is often able to provide Client Assistance Cards. These cards are like pre-loaded debit cards and vary in dollar amount depending on immediate needs.

Receiving a card can translate into a safe place to sleep, a change of clothes, and hot meals. The cards help build a bridge from despair to hope.

In the case of large-scale disasters such as floods and hurricanes, the Red Cross makes plans in advance around potential impact to property and residents. They coordinate with partners for shelter locations, position volunteers, and get relief equipment and supplies in place.

Supplies sent ahead in preparation for a disaster often include the Client Assistance Cards. FedEx provides an in-kind shipping account to the Red Cross each year. This increases their capacity to serve people in their darkest day, as they are able to ship supplies, including the Cards, and pre-stage them so they are at-the-ready when needed.

One way that FedEx has helped the Red Cross for the past 35 years has been providing our powerful transportation network, at no cost to them, enabling them to deliver hope to victims of disasters. The next time you see a FedEx plane overhead, or a FedEx truck on the road, one of the precious items being transported may just be a supply of Red Cross Client Assistance Cards, on their way to deliver a bridge from despair to hope.