KALAMAZOO, MI – Thirty families and 73 children are homeless after a building caught fire on Saturday.
Organizations in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood are coordinating donations of warm clothing, toiletries and cash to support those affected, ranging in age from 7-day-old infants to older children and adults.
The fire started around 5:30 p.m. on December 18 at an apartment building in the Fox Ridge Apartments community. There was thick smoke and fire coming from the second floor.
A resident was slightly injured by the fire and was treated and released at the scene.
Related: An injured in the fire of an apartment in Kalamazoo
A child accidentally started the fire, said Ryan Bridges, Kalamazoo’s public information manager.
The Northside Ministerial Alliance, the Northside Association for Community Development, The Kalamazoo Promise and Helping Other People Exceed thru Navigation are involved in supporting families.
Warm clothes of all sizes are needed most – coats, sweatshirts, gloves, socks, boats, anything that will keep people warm when they are outside, said Gwendolyn Hooker, director of HOPE via Navigation.
“We put that in place pretty quickly,” Hooker said. “We sent probes everywhere, contacted some of our key partners that we work with all the time. They show themselves and they show themselves. We are standing and driving.
Children range from 7 days to high school seniors, Hooker said. As Christmas is just a few days away, they are also collecting toy donations.
“There’s never a right time for a fire, but it’s the worst time,” Hooker said.
Families were placed in a shelter by the American Red Cross, and organizations in Northside helped place people in hotels. Families needing support after the fire can call 269-443-3073 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations of clothing, toiletries, toys and cash can be dropped off at the Northside Association for Community Development, 612 N. Park Street, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 22 and 23. 28 and 29.
Cash donations can be sent to Northside Ministerial Alliance via Cash App at $ nmakzoo, or to HOPE via PayPal Navigation here. Donations by check can be mailed to Northside Ministerial Alliance, 2929 E. Main St. in Kalamazoo.
All donations must include a note or memo stating “Fox Ridge families” to ensure funds are used to benefit displaced families.
“The greatest thing is that we as a community have to come together,” Hooker said.
Organizations will also work to help families find permanent housing.
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