FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Fairfield's Save the Children is stepping up to help as tornadoes, lightning, heavy rain and flash floods related to Hurricane Harvey continue to put millions at risk in Texas, including nearly 3 million children, .
Save the Children is on the ground responding to the needs of children and families who have been forced from their homes and into emergency shelters.
The organization opened its first child-friendly space Monday to help victims of the storm, and is planning to open more in the coming days. These spaces are safe, supervised areas within shelters where children can play, socialize and begin to recover from the disaster, while allowing their parents to concentrate on addressing the family’s needs.
The first child-friendly space opened in Kazen Middle School, in San Antonio, where hundreds of displaced families are seeking refuge.
"We’ve lost everything," said Nick, a father of a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl, staying with his family at the shelter. "We saw photos of our house destroyed, off its frame, with our belongings strewn around the yard. We used the last of our money to get to the evacuation buses. Before they brought the cribs in, our children had to sleep on cots and almost fell off."
Save the Children is also providing shelters with portable cribs, strollers and infant and toddler hygiene supplies.
"We are working as quickly as possible to help these children and families," said Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, Save the Children’s senior director of U.S. emergencies, who is leading the agency’s response in Texas. "We know from decades of experience that children are the most affected in the wake of emergencies and disasters, and often their needs fall through the cracks. Child-friendly spaces are hugely important in providing a safe place for kids to play away from the turmoil, to support their physical and emotional wellbeing."
To support Save the Children’s response efforts around Hurricane Harvey, visit www.SavetheChildren.org or text Hurricane to 20222 to donate $25 to the Hurricane Harvey Children’s Relief Fund. (A $25 donation will be added to your mobile bill.)
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