PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Red Cross volunteer from Pittsburgh ditched her Christmas plans to help run a shelter in Kentucky after the devastating tornadoes last week.
Paula Bauerle arrived in Kentucky on Monday to help out at the shelter in Madisonville. She is set to return to Pittsburgh after ChristmasREAD MORE: As Winter Storm System Moves In, Pittsburghers Pack Grocery Stores For Last-Minute Items
“Everybody is going, ‘But you won’t be home for Christmas.’ These guys don’t have Christmas,” Bauerle said.
Bauerle is helping families and people who lost everything in the deadly tornadoes. It is the families with kids that resonate with her.
“They don’t understand,” Bauerle said. “I don’t think the small ones, they don’t have a home to go back to. They’ve been assured that Santa Claus knows where they are going to be.”
She also helped bring joy to one little girl in the shelter.READ MORE: 1 Shot In Downtown Pittsburgh
“She lost a tooth in the tornado,” Bauerle said. “I went out and got some money from the tooth fairy and was telling the little girl the tooth fairy was going to come and knew where she was.”
It is unclear how long families will be there. Until then, Bauerle spreads messages of hope.
“Reassure them they are not going to be put out on the street,” Bauerle said. “They are not going to be left alone. The Red Cross is there to help them.”
Bauerle said she’s been doing this for seven years and would not want it any other way.
“I want to be here to make their Christmas Day the best that it could possibly be,” she said.MORE NEWS: Seven Springs Opens Faster, High-Capacity Chairlift
The volunteer said the biggest need for those people is housing. Once the damage is assessed, the Red Cross will work at getting those people another place to go.