When evacuees arrive at an American Red Cross shelter, we not only pay attention to healing the community but we also pay close attention to all the needs of all those we rescue. For us, this isn’t only about providing a safe place to stay or medicine but this is about making sure that we pay special attention to the little sentimental things, so that evacuees feel like we are a family as we gather together between these cots. In Pasadena, Texas, we provide help in those sentimental moments that a family will remember forever.

No child should have to experience their birthday in a shelter without the warmth of a birthday party that brings the shelter together in the joy of celebrating this child. The shelter at Revive Church in Pasadena, Texas experienced just that. As family and friends gathered around Arnell Diaz Barnes birthday, the feeling was jovial. You could tell Arnell loved his birthday as most of the shelter gathered around him and gave him a Hot Wheels birthday party with Hot Wheels cake and Hot Wheels toys. His Mother, Roni Diaz described the staff at the shelter as “loving and kind”.

“I wasn’t able to get him anything this year with all that happened,” Diaz said. “I am so thankful for you al with the Red Cross that did this fro my baby. Seeing the pure joy on his face makes me cry.”

The shelter was set up inside Revive Church in Pasadena Texas after tornadoes struck the area on January 24th, 2023. Arnell Diaz Barnes will always remember this birthday as a source of pride for the strength he and his family have gained from the crisis they have endured.

By Sean Larkin