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Can't Give to the Red Cross This Year

It had been a hard winter in the Appalachians.  Snow had piled up deeper and deeper, the mercury dropped, rivers froze, people suffered.  The Red Cross used helicopters to fly in supplies.  One crew had been working day after day -- long hours. They were on their way home late in the afternoon when they saw a little cabin submerged in the snow.  There was a thin whisper of smoke coming from the chimney.

The rescue team figured they were probably about out of food, fuel, perhaps medicine.  Because of the trees they had to put the helicopter down a mile away.  They put on heavy packs with emergency supplies, trudged through heavy snow, waist deep, reached the cabin exhausted, panting, perspiring.  They pounded on the door.

A thin, gaunt mountain woman opened the door and the lead man
gasped, “We’re from the Red Cross.”  She was silent for a moment and then she said, “It’s been a hard winter, Sonny, I just don't think we can give anything this year.”

– James S. Hewett, ed., Illustrations Unlimited (Tyndale, 1988), pp. 237ff.