BUCKHANNON – After a large fire at the Holly Apartments complex in Adrian destroyed a dozen apartments Thursday, several local organizations have stepped up to help those who lost both their place to live and all their belongings.
Kristi Wilkerson, Director of the Upshur County Parish House, said Friday afternoon that the Parish House had already met with eight or nine families affected by the fire. She advised anyone affected to first contact the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS and then reach out to local entities.
“[The Red Cross] is able to assist first and foremost, and they’re organizing some of the initial response,” Wilkerson told My Buckhannon. “Then the Parish House is collaborating with Mountain CAP, the Salvation Army and also the Homeless Coalition. We have several different agencies we’re working with.”
The Parish House is currently providing basic needs and will then transition into offering longer-term support items.
“Whether they’re staying in a motel or with family and friends, we can provide food, clothing, personal items, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, diapers, tampons, things of that nature,” Wilkerson said. “As they figure out things over the next few days, they can check back with us if they need something else as well.”
The Parish House is accepting donations of several needed items and would also appreciate monetary contributions.
“We will certainly accept funds if there is something we need to purchase for folks, but we are also accepting donations of those personal items,” Wilkerson said. “I know that we could use new underwear and socks, particularly for men.”
The phone number for the Upshur County Parish House is 304-472-0743.
Jason Keeling, the Executive Director for the Allegheny Highlands Chapter of the American Red Cross, asked anyone who needs help to call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
“That number will dispatch them through our system to get to local contacts, and then in a disaster situation, the Red Cross will work to make sure the immediate needs of the clients are met,” Keeling said. “That means making sure they have shelter in the immediate aftermath, food, clothing, any sort of prescriptions they may have, if they’ve lost any medical equipment or if they’ve lost eyeglasses. Those are the kind of material resources that we provide.”
The Red Cross also offers clients the opportunity to speak with volunteers who are trained in disaster mental health and non-denominational spiritual care.
“Those services are available,” Keeling said, “and lastly we offer what we call casework services. That’s where we work to connect clients with other partners, such as the Parish House, for anything else they may need.”
Keeling confirmed the Red Cross has already been in touch with several people affected by the fire and he encouraged more to reach out.
“Our mission is to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies, and we do that through the power of our volunteers and the generosity of our donors,” Keeling said. “I mention that because the volunteer and donor aspects are really important. Our services are at no cost to the to the client, but that’s because we have donors.”
Keeling credited local community partners for acting quickly to get help to those in need.
“We’re sorry this has happened at this apartment complex in Adrian, but we’re really glad that thanks to our community partners thinking quickly and realizing the Red Cross could definitely be a resource, they were able to get information in a timely fashion and we were in touch with many of the affected clients within hours of the fire.”
Wilkerson also noted the generosity of the community in the wake of the disaster.
“We’re just so fortunate to live in a community that really responds when there’s a situation like this, and we appreciate everything the community has done,” Wilkerson said.
Other local organizations have also reached out and expressed a desire to help those affected by the fire.
The Ellamore Fire Department posted on their Facebook page that they have personal care packages in limited quantities thanks to the organization After The Disaster, which provided personal care/hygiene packages to fire departments across West Virginia.
French Creek Elementary School posted on their Facebook page that they are collecting items for those affected by the fire. The drop off time for items will be Monday through Friday between 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or call 304-924-6381. Among the items needed are:
- Non-perishable food items
- Hair brushes
- Feminine products
- New towels and washcloths
- New pillows
- New blankets
- New houseware items
- Dog/cat food
- Dog/cat food dishes
- New size 6 girls clothing
- New size XL boys clothing (14/16)
- New women’s size 3 pants/shorts
- New women’s small tops
- New men’s XL shirts
- New men’s XL pants
- (At this time they are not accepting used items.)