Each morning over the past couple of weeks, I've seen Red Cross vans parked at hotels all across our region. You never know where these people are coming from, but they are called to help.

You might not know this, but the American Red Cross mobilizes hundreds of volunteers to help during disasters like the flooding across Louisiana.

We know the Red Cross provides shelter and emergency assistance right after a storm, but the job goes on well beyond that. They are handing out cleaning supply kits, serving hot meals and providing comfort items like blankets. They also are simply taking the time to be fully present to others – to listen to their hearts.

Here's one story we learned about from the Red Cross:

Eight-year-old Jersie Reyes, a resident at the Red Cross shelter at the Bossier Civic Center, was having a tea party with her dolls when Red Cross nurse Stacie Archibald asked if she would like to listen to her doll’s heartbeat.

Jersie was disappointed when she heard nothing from her doll, but her face lit up when she moved the stethoscope and could hear Stacie’s heartbeat. And she was even more excited when she listened to her own.

“Caring for our neighbors, including the littlest among us, is at the heart of the Red Cross,” said Kay W. Wilkins, chief executive of the nonprofit in Louisiana. “That Red Cross mission began with a nurse during the Civil War and carries on with hundreds of thousands of American Red Cross volunteers that serve each and every day.”

If you would like to help the Red Cross, you can apply online.

You can also help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.