By KRISTA DERDOWSKI
The Allegheny College and Meadville communities helped support the families affected by the recent Chestnut St. fire by providing donations to the Center for Family Services.
The fire took place on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. and was not under control until approximately midnight or 1 a.m. The fire displaced all of the apartment building’s residents. The cause is still undetermined.
Immediately following the fire, the Center for Family Services asked for donations consisting of daily and household items to help relieve residents’ burdens. The community responded with an overwhelming amount of donations. Some residents lost all their belongings and Family Services helped provide them with everyday items so the families did not have to buy supplies during their time of need.
Emily Christ, ’16, works as a front desk assistant for the Center for Family Services. She stated that the amount of donations received was indescribable.
“The office has been overflowing with items. Not only did we receive a lot of clothing, we also received brand new household items such as pots and pans,” said Christ.
According to Christ, the donations included nearly everything; even the little things that are usually passed over were included. She was impressed with the unity that the community had for the cause and the amount of students that had come to the Center to volunteer.
Just on Allegheny’s campus alone, many students and staff helped volunteer and organize donations. Students went down to Family Services and helped sort and organize items that would have otherwise taken the Center weeks to go through. Some student organizations that volunteered included Circle K, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and other Greek life organizations.
Alyxandra Mance, ’16, vice president of philanthropy for the Allegheny Panhellenic Council, stated that the sororities on campus helped donate seven bags of clothing, blankets and personal care items. All of these items were collected and pre-sorted in less than a week.
With the amount of donations pouring into Family Services, the past few weeks have been overwhelming for the non-profit organization and its workers, but Allegheny’s volunteers made the process more manageable.
“The student volunteers came in with force to help expedite the process and we are very grateful for the help,” said Maria Firkaly, head of marketing and development at Family Services.
Not only did the students help sort and organize donations, they also helped build shelves in the center for future use. Firkaly added that they were amazed with the help from the community and other volunteers from the Allegheny student body as a whole. In times of need, Firkaly noted that they can always count on the students to help the community when necessary.
Allegheny students and staff were able to come together and make a difference by organizing such extensive volunteer efforts. The Center for Family Services recognized and appreciated the college’s support.
The Center for Family Services is still in need of help to organize and sort through donations. If you would like to volunteer, visit 213 Center St., Meadville, Pa. or call the number 814-337-8450 to find available times to volunteer.