United Way of Greater Topeka is committed to funding Basic Needs including food, shelter and rent and utility assistance, access to healthcare and prescription assistance and safety from domestic violence assistance. United Way partners with the American Red Cross to provide disaster assistance to people needing shelter.
It was an early Friday morning in September when the unexpected happened to the Rose family in West Topeka. Robb awoke around 1:30 a.m., realizing he had fallen asleep wearing his contacts. As he walked toward the bathroom, his son, Ricky, got up to see what his dad was doing. Ricky suddenly noticed flames towards the back of the house and shouted, “The backyard is on fire!”
The family instantly sprang into action. Ricky’s mother, Jean, called 911, and Robb grabbed the family’s two dogs as he moved everyone out of the house. As they watched the fire department extinguish the flames, they stood in shock that such a tragedy was unfolding before their eyes. “You never think that something like this can happen to you. I felt so hopeless; I couldn’t even tell what the damage was and I didn’t know what the next step would be,” Jean said.
Minutes later a coworker of Robb’s called to tell him a Red Cross worker was on the way. “I don’t know what we would have done without the assistance of the Red Cross,” Robb said. The Red Cross provided the family with a three-night stay in a hotel, comfort kits and assistance with purchasing food and clothing that were lost in the fire. The American Red Cross couldn’t give back the family’s home but they were able to give them hope for tomorrow.