Community, agencies seek to help families who lost homes in fire

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

Local agencies, including the United Way of Northwest Michigan, are collecting items and offering services to help those who lost their homes due to an April 26 fire at Kalkaska Woods Apartments.

KALKASKA – A blaze Friday night that ravaged an apartment building and left a reported 16 families homeless also sparked community agencies into action, as officials and volunteers seek to help those impacted by the April 26 fire.

Firefighters from numerous area departments battled the fire at Kalkaska Woods Apartments, located on the 500 Block of Cedar Street in the Village of Kalkaska, after it was reported shortly before midnight late Friday, April 26.

And, while the flames are out, several other agencies are still very busy trying to assist those victims until they find new living arrangements.

The Kalkaska Baby Pantry opened its doors on Sunday, April 28, to assist the victims. And, the Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources will be open Monday through Friday, April 29-May 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to provide clothing vouchers, household items and food to the families.

The Kalkaska Church of Christ is currently accepting donations for the fire victims. They will be passing out everything to the families next week.

Also, the United Way of Northwest Michigan quickly created a fund to help assist the families in their time of need.

“The United Way does not provide direct service support,” said Leisa Eckerle Hankins, the local United Way community resource director. “Due to this situation being a disaster and multiple families involved, we are working with area agencies to support the families and created this fund so we can work with these agencies as they provide services.

“It is United Way's goal to connect and mobilize for the caring good of our community.”

According to Hankins, the local United Way office is working in connection with the Red Cross, Goodwill, Northern Michigan Community Action Agency, Head Start, Salvation Army, and Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources, as well as other agencies and businesses, to help the victims put their lives back together.

“We are working with local agencies to address the needs of the families, particularly in this devastating time,” Hankins said. “We want to help the families get safely back on their feet. Our goal is to provide them with the resources needed to move forward.

“We will monitor the needs of the families and close the fund when we feel we have met the needs appropriately.”

Those wanting to donate to the victims’ fund may do so online at unitedwaynwmi.org/givenow/kalkaska-fire-donation-page/. Or, individuals may drop off needed items at 202 E. Grandview Parkway in Traverse City.

Some of the items needed include: totes, carpenter bags, gas cards, Meijer/VISA cards, laundromat gift cards, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, along wiwth diapers and wipes of any size.

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