Mounds of clothing, rows upon rows of shoes, even stuffed animals. Church members from Friendship Baptist Church in Collinsville have collected as much as possible for those who need it most.
"Our volunteer ministry is having a giveaway for the Village families that got burned out. We have clothing and various items that we think they might be able to use," explains Hazel Wilson, the volunteer coordinator for the church.
The volunteer ministry is a part of the church home mission program. The purpose of the ministry is to help people out in the community and in the church family. The ministry had already decided to have a giveaway, but decided there were a few families who they wanted to specifically target.
"We were going to have a giveaway anyway. We were going to have a community-wide giveaway and after we heard about the burned out families, we decided we would focus on victims of the Village Apartments fire because we knew that they needed everything. So we said, 'Let's focus on them instead of doing a community-wide giveaway'."
And part of that focus includes everyday needs. You have to remember that these families who have become victims to one devastating night, have nothing. They are starting over from scratch. Anything and everything is greatly needed by these families.
"We are trying to put together a little care package of a blanket, towels, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes. Just various personal need items that they can use right now," says Wilson.
Church members are doing what they can as of right now. They also plan to help the fire victims in the future because they know their needs will continue now that they are starting over.
"What we are doing is we are asking them, 'What do they need still?'. Because we know some of these people still don't have homes. Once we get to know them and get their names and how to reach them, if we get things later on, we'll be able to get back in touch with them."
If you would like to help these victims you can also donate to their fund they have set up at the Citizens National Bank on Highway 19 North in Meridian. The fund is 'Village Apartments Victims Funds'.
The church collected so much that they will be having two more giveaways. This time they will be open to everyone. The giveaways are set for Thursday, April 22nd from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The other one is Saturday, April 24th from 10 in the morning until noon.,