In May of this year, the Tate’s family residence became uninhabitable when, due to exposure to the Midwest elements, their roof collapsed destroying walls, furniture, appliances, and precious personal items. As they sat on the porch of their home trying to make sense of what happened and what to do next, Giovanni Tate’s phone rang and he says, “It was a call from an angel—it was the Red Cross.”
In a matter of hours, on that unforgettable Thursday night, the Tate Family found themselves at the American Red Cross of Illinois headquarters, meeting with two caseworkers who immediately went to work to make sure the Tate Family, including their puppy Loki, had a place to stay that night.
“We had only heard about stories of people affected by disaster or a home fire and organizations that show up to help. You hear about it, but don’t know how entirely true it is. I was humbled that the Red Cross, who knew nothing about me and my family, without asking, made that call that for us, was a rescue call. We are forever grateful to the angels from the Red Cross that worked with us and made sure we weren’t left homeless while we worked out what to do next,” stated Giovanni.
During the midst of it all, top of mind was the impending graduation taking place that Saturday. Shaniya’s graduation gown and decorations were all in the house under piles of rubble. “We were so concerned how this would affect my daughter’s special day. Luckily, we were able to go into the house and retrieve a few things—most importantly her graduation dress and gown. That brought a sense a normalcy to all of us during a very surreal time,” explained Giovanni.
Fast forward to today, with the help of neighbors who helped with repairs, the Tate Family is enjoying their refurbished home with plans to volunteer for the Red Cross. “The Red Cross was a real blessing. I want to be there for someone in their moment of need,” said Giovanni.
The angels on the phone who met with Giovanni and his family that Thursday night were Red Cross volunteers Cathy Dixon and Morrie Bowie. Volunteers are the lifeline of the Red Cross. For disasters big and small, our volunteers provide comfort during what can be the worst days of people’s lives. Thank you, Cathy, and Morrie, for being there for the Tate Family and countless others you have impacted with your compassion.
Learn how you can volunteer at redcross.org/volunteer.
Written by Illinois Communications Manager Connie Esparza