Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spirit of community seen in Shelton

Donations are being sorted and distributed in this storefront on Center Street.

SHELTON - Since the Jan. 6 fire that destroyed a block of businesses and three stories of apartments on Howe Avenue nonprofit organizations, companies, and individuals have come together to help the displaced residents and store owners.

It is truly heartwarming to see something good come out of what can only be described as a  downtown disaster.

From individuals donating food, clothing, household supplies and money, to volunteers handling the massive amount of donations there is a spirit of caring that cannot go unnoticed.

On Monday I met Stratford resident Missy Samaha, who has taken charge of the donations.
She, several friends and a crew of Shelton firefighters have been working tirelessly to assist the 29 residents of the apartment building that was leveled.

They have set up "shop" at 91 Center St. in a storefront owned by firefighter Chris Jones. There, volunteers and victims have become what they call "a new family."

Samaha said residents who lost all their belongings have a chance to socialize at the shop while picking up whatever they need to get their lives back to normal.

These are wish lists posted in the shop. The fire victims need to replace everything they owned,  from TVs and cell phones, to work boots and more.

Missy Samaha Monday checks the expiration date on canned food donations. With her is volunteer Todd Dias, who said he lives on Howe Avenue and has been helping since the blaze.

Just some of the donated toiletries available for the displaced residents. 

This is an offer from the Friends of the Shelton Libraries for free books to help fire victims replace what they have lost.

Samaha said donations of gift cards to supermarkets and stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, The Home Depot and Lowe's, in addition to gas cards, would be a great help.

I wish her and her fellow volunteers all the best as they continue to help the displaced residents. 

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