Meridian, Miss. It was just after noon on July 11th when the lives of more than 30 residents who lived at Western Garden Apartments in Meridian were changed forever. That's when a fire, which investigators say resulted from juveniles allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails into one of the units, destroyed 8 families' possessions, and caused more than a quarter of a million dollars in property damage.
Two weeks later, there's some good news for the residents. All 8 families are preparing to move into new homes that are owned by the Meridian Housing Authority.
To help with the transition, throughout the day Friday, the more than two dozen affected MHA residents were able to choose from a wide array of donated clothes.
"We were very overwhelmed, and surprised that the community has poured out so, and responded just overwhelmingly to these families," says MHA Contract Specialist, Kajsa Cole. "So, it has been refreshing to see our community come together in such a way to help these families."
Because there has been such an outpouring of support for the clothing drive, some of the offices at the housing authority have been transformed into makeshift 'clothing closets.' Although the agency is not accepting any more clothing donations at this time, MHA officials say there is still a need for furniture and monetary donations.
The monetary donations may be made at any Trustmark National Bank branch in Meridian. MHA officials say additional donations received will also be used to directly help the 30-plus residents who lost all of their belongings in the fire.
"The fire victims are so appreciative," says Cole. "Every word is, 'Thank you, thank you!' Every word is,'God bless you!' Meridian, thank you so much for your support, for the outpouring of love. We rise up to the challenge every time. So, thank you!"