Donation drive for Niles fire victims has big turnout

NOW: Donation drive for Niles fire victims has big turnout

Niles, Mich. — Three days after four families lost everything in an apartment fire, people came out in droves to fill a church with donations.

“It was up in smoke, the windows were blowing out, I watched my roof burn and the ceiling collapse.”  

Karlie Brown has being going through a whirlwind of emotions.

Shock watching her home go up in flames, anxiety over her next steps, but also comfort and hope because of how quickly her community jumped in to help.  

“I’m just so thankful, I don’t even know how to begin to respond,” said Karlie.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is among various Niles groups offering help.

“There are good people out there and they’re not shy about giving,” said church member Melissa Rizzo. 

Wednesday, they held a donation drive and people’s generosity surpassed their expectations.  

“The community has really come out, stuff started coming in three hours before we even started,” said church member Daysha Amster.

But as Karlie and her neighbors look to what’s next, they’re realizing just how much is needed to get back on their feet.  

“We don’t have a house, so household items are needed, but not an immediate need,” said Karlie. “Those are gift cards, gas cards because we don’t really know what we need until we go to use it.”

Karlie said she can be reached via Facebook, Venmo or her GoFundMe if anyone would like to help 

St. Paul’s expects to have more clothes than needed from the drive, so they’re looking for other organizations they can pass those along to.

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