Community comes together to help homeless fire victims
The Granville community came together Christmas Eve to help out two people who only days before lost everything they had in an early morning fire.
Stephanie VanGuilder and her 16-month-old daughter Maeranda barely made it out of the fire that burned them out of their Truthville apartment, VanGuilder said.
Awakening to a noise she thought was the woodstove being filled, she instead found her house filled with thick smoke.
She said she had a chance to get the baby, a blanket and a few other items and it was out into the early morning cold.
On Christmas Eve, VanGuilder shed tears for a different reason, tears of joy.
“I cried when I came in here,” VanGuilder said. “This is all just so unbelievable – I’m overwhelmed,” she said.
Daughter Maeranda had a different reaction, her eyes got big when she saw the man in the red suit with the fluffy white beard.
“It was all worth it to see the look on her face when she came through the door,” North Granville Fire Chief Scott McCullen said.
Friends and relatives along with North Granville, Middle Granville and Hook & Ladder Fire Company came together to make sure the two would still have Christmas after losing everything but the clothes on their backs.
“When I went in that building I just knew we had to do something,” McCullen said Saturday.
Within hours of the fire a collection had been taken up and social members of the North Granville Hose Company did the shopping to help replace just a part of what was lost in the Dec. 19 fire.
When they learned why the firefighters were shopping, McCullen said the folks at Kmart provided a 10 percent discount.
“It’s great to see how people came forward to help,” he said.
Janice Paddock knows a thing or two about fundraisers, but said she was still amazed at the response and what came together on such short notice this close to the holidays in tough financial conditions for everyone.
“I think it’s a Christmas Miracle,” she said.
Paddock said the Section 8 Ryders contributed to the gift giving as both groups filled a table in the community center with gifts.