Through the years since Hurricane Katrina, You Are Never Alone Foundation (YANAF) has responded to disasters with volunteers sharing Caring Coins as reminders to the survivors that they are not alone…people care and are thinking about them. The response to this gesture has re-enforced to us the importance of a caring connection through a simple act of kindness.
Caring Coins for the Families in Marysville, Washington
Pilchuck High School students and families in Marysville, Washington received Caring Coins with cards signed by students at Long Trail School in Dorset, Vermont as a reminder that people cared about them following the shooting tragedy there. The following is the response to the Caring Coins: “The Caring Coins were delivered in person… We are so grateful! Some of the coins will be given to counselors for kids that are having the toughest time. The colored papers on that wall in this picture represent every donation or gift of help in the last 3 weeks. You Are Never Alone Foundation will be added to the wall! Thank you all again for caring and for remembering us.”
3,000 Caring Coins were received in Puerto Rico with gratitude and hope
On December 26th my family went to San Juan, Puerto Rico, not knowing what to expect following the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria. What we found were amazing people with open hearts and a resilience that is an inspiration to us all. We stayed at Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort in San Juan where we met many people who despite the fact that they and their families were without electricity and some without water for over 100 days were filled with optimism and hope. When asked how they were surviving, they replied, “We do what we have to do…we have candles and flashlights”. We also met First Responders from Massachusetts and FEMA workers from Utah, who were away from their families but here to help with the recovery effort.
We shared Caring Coins with the cards signed by children and adults in Vermont to remind them they are not alone with them. The smiles, hugs and some tears reinforced to me how much a simple act of caring can turn someone’s day around, not only the person receiving the caring but also the one giving it. There are no words to express how much a simple little reminder of caring means to another human being.
A special thank you to Ariana Ramirez, who introduced me to Pastor Lizbeth Guidini, who invited our family to attend a beautiful and inspirational Sunday Service at El Sendero De La Cruz. Pastor Lizbeth and her Congregation have been sharing the Caring Coins with cards signed by children and adults in Vermont with families in Puerto Rico. The Caring Coins remind the children and adults in Puerto Rico they are not alone. They are little “gifts of hope”.
Thank you to all signed the cards and assembled over 1500 Caring Coins for Puerto Rico. Most of all thank you to our new friends in Puerto Rico and beyond who remind us that together we can survive anything…We are all part of the human family…We are all in this together.
A Little Girl and her Dad in the Boston T
One of our student volunteers writes: I was riding on the T in Boston a few days following the bombings in Boston I met a little girl who was with her dad. Her dad told me that he had ran in the Boston Marathon. He had not finished the race that day because of the bombings. He decided that he had to finish the race, so he had gone back to the place where he had stopped and finished the race. His daughter was so proud of him that she put a medal around his neck.
I had one Caring Coin with me that I gave to the little girl…Her dad put the Caring Coin around his daughter’s neck…
Families of the 19 Firefighters Who Died in Arizona
YANAF volunteers in Arizona shared Caring Coins with cards signed by children and youth in Vermont with the families of the 19 firefighters from Granite Mountain IHC Crew 7 who died at the Yarnell Fire Last Alarm on 6/30/2013. The firefighters sharing the Caring Coins with the families were very appreciative, especially because they were signed by the children and youth so far away who were thinking of them.
Reaching Out to the Sandy Hook Community
Mark Tashjian, Headmaster; Megan Cornell, School Nurse and the faculty and the students of Burr and Burton Academy signed “Me to You” cards with messages of caring for the students at Sandy Hook School and the families of those deceased. “We are touched by the outpouring of love by you and your students and people around the world. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.”
Caring Coins Handed out to Hurricane Sandy Survivors
The devastation of Hurricane Sandy was unimaginable…people came together to help the survivors. Over 4500 Caring Coins were hand delivered to survivors in the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Staten Island and New Jersey by YANAF volunteers…“Meeting so many amazing people, both survivors and volunteers of all ages was a very humbling and sobering experience for us. Thank you to everyone who joined us in reminding the survivors of hurricane Sandy that we care.”
Caring Coins with cards signed in bright colors by the students at The Dorset School in Dorset, Vermont were shared with students at St Charles School. The students loved the Caring Coins and appreciated that other kids were thinking about them. We shared Caring Coins and the message of caring at these centers as well as at areas along the way where we saw survivors, volunteers and National Guard troops gathered. Although the need for food, clothes, diapers and other supplies is so great, the Caring Coins, smiles and hugs were warmly received by all.
Caring Coins went with the trucks from Orvis, in Manchester, Vermont to survivors in Seabright, New Jersey. Many people and students from Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Vermont volunteered to make this possible. Pastor Margaret and members of The Peru Congregational Church also signed cards for Caring Coins and helped us hand deliver the Caring Coins.
“We have been through so much and lost everything: the mere fact that someone care means more than you’ll ever know…”
“Someone Cares About Me, I Must Matter…”
These words of a Hurricane Katrina survivor after receiving a Caring Coin and a hug express the feelings of the recipients of over 5500 survivors who personally received a Caring Coin from a volunteer. Many individuals, churches, businesses and organizations participated signing Me to You cards reminding the survivors that they cared. The Caring Coins with the cards were placed around the necks of the survivors in churches, recreation centers, and the Salvation Army Distribution Center. Each coin was accompanied with a hug. The response was amazing. Each hug was returned.
“It is difficult to put into words the impact of seeing so many people of all ages, of different races, religions, and economic backgrounds with plastic bags containing all their earthly possessions. There were rows upon rows of cots, in large recreation areas and halls. All had stories of destroyed homes, lost family members and friends, no place to go, and no jobs. You could see it in their eyes. But although they had lost so much, they could still smile through such adversity. They were so grateful that someone cared about them. Their gratitude touched each of us.”