Kenosha resident, Katryane Jenkins, has spent four nights at an overnight shelter provided by the American Red Cross at Bradford High School. Katryane, along with over 60 people at the 20-unit apartment building she was living in, was displaced after an apartment fire resulted in utilities being shut off until Monday morning.
Katryane, a full time student and mother to two young daughters, ages nine and two, is no stranger to the services that are provided from the Red Cross. In the last five years, she has experienced two fires – each with a distressing impact on her life.
Four years ago, the duplex Katryane was living in caught fire. Unable to return to her home, she looked to the Red Cross to help her get back on her feet. The Red Cross provided her with a warm place to stay at a local hotel, money for food, resources to get clothes, as well as money to help with a security deposit on a new home. She says she’s thankful for that help.
Having had this experience, Katryane felt more prepared to handle a similar situation years later. When she heard the smoke alarms in her building sound – her heart beating faster with every chirp of the alarm – she knew she needed to stay calm and move quickly. As the smell of smoke quickly filled the apartment, she already knew where to find the closest fire exits, and had practice getting out of the home quickly.
Katryane was also able to emotionally prepare herself – deal with the feelings of sadness and anger – because she knew what it felt like to lose her belongings. While others may find it difficult to handle emotions, Katryane says that her experience has helped her have compassion for her fellow residents involved in the recent fire. She also knows the importance of providing support to others. “We’ve been there to lean on each other for support,” Katryane says.
During this time, Katryane is using other resources provided by the Red Cross, such as the meals and snacks, as well as comfort kits containing personal care items such as toothbrushes, deodorant, shaving supplies, and other personal hygiene items. She finds it important to use the mental health services and talk to someone when she’s feeling down. On Thursday, March 10, she visited the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that was set up at the Kenosha Transit Center to learn about additional resources available to aid her recovery. At the MARC, representatives from government, non-profit, and faith-based organizations were on hand to offer assistance. These representatives, along with the Red Cross, worked with Katryane to find her and her family a permanent residence.
Today, Katryane is looking to maintain control of her life. While completing her Business Management Degree at Gateway Technical College, she is looking to the future and focusing on settling her family in a new home.
The Red Cross provided multiple families in Kenosha with a shoulder to lean on, and help to establish a plan of ‘what to do next.’ Financial assistance was provided for basic needs, such as food, clothing, infant supplies, shelter, transportation and more. You can help the Red Cross help families after fires with a financial gift at redcross.org/donate.