Clerk Pays It Forward in Memory of Aid She Received After TS Allison

Cynthia Smith

Sometimes, it’s the small kindnesses that can mean the most to people in a bad situation.

Such was the case for Cynthia Smith, a clerk in HISD’s Police Department, who lost everything back in 2001, when Tropical Storm Allison dumped more than three feet of water on some areas of Houston, leaving about 30,000 people homeless.

Smith was one of the many employees who responded to a survey about why people contribute to the Combined Charities Campaign every year. And in her case, it all boils down to the kindness and quick assistance she received from the American Red Cross.

“This was a true natural disaster for me and my family,” said Smith. “We had to move out of our home for three months, and everything material was a total loss.”

Smith said that the Red Cross sent a truck out to her subdivision one day and the representative was passing out cleaning supplies, along with information on where to find hot meals and other necessities.

“Not only did they give vouchers to Wal-Mart for household things, they also gave us vouchers to get beds,” said Smith. “To me, this was a way back to a normal life. My entire subdivision was flooded with waist-high water, and I am so grateful that the Red Cross was there for us. I always contribute to the American Red Cross.”

Why do you give? To share your story, please send an email to This is the third and final installment in a short series on why employees contribute. You can read previous articles here and here.