Facilitate, Educate and Empower...
**** UPDATE ***** June 25, 2017
We had a horrific fire on Sunday, June 11th around 3pm in Lawrence.
The total number of structures affected by the fire was eight. The three destroyed buildings are at 127-129 Bennington St., 131-133 Bennington St. and 137-139 Bennington St.
In addition, the damaged homes were located at 123-125 Bennington St., 141-143 Bennington St., 146 Saratoga St., 150 Saratoga St. and a seven-bay garage adjacent to 150 Saratoga St.
We had over 60 people displaced by the fire. The Red Cross had given them food, clothing and hotels stays for two nights. We had a few people pay for extended hotel stays for some. The ECCF paid a couple also.
We had many folks wanting to donate contact us. They wanted to help immediately. It is nice to see caring and generous people coming out to help.
We have a suggestion for those who want to help their neighbors in a tragic situation such as this. Please remember they have lost almost or all of their belongings. They are in shock. They are temporarily put up in a hotel and have no room to accept donations. Your donations may not go directly to these families. We have suggestions for you.
1. They need a new place to stay, an extended hotel stay, invitation to your home temporarily or an apartment. Please send all information on available apartments to our email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. They need gift cards in $25 denominations to Market Basket, Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, CVS or Walgreens. CVS and Walgreens have been added for prescriptions that have to be replaced. For the time being these can be dropped off at Mayor Dan Rivera's office at Lawrence City Hall, marked for Heal Lawrence. There will be a form for you to claim your tax-deductible donation.
3. Physical donations can be made to the Wish Project in Lowell. They assist our clients when they find permanent housing or get back into their homes. This could take weeks or months. The Wish Project can be reached at 978-441-9474 for donation hours.
4 If you are in a position to help with extending their hotel stays, the Red Cross gives them 2 nights, monetary donations can be made to the ECCF, Essex County Community Fund.
5. GET RENTERS INSURANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Call your insurance agent now! A hotel room could cost $120 a night, Renters Insurance could cost $120 a year. Add it to your car insurance and save. Make sure it has displacement coverage so you have a place to stay while your apartment is being repaired. It covers fire, theft and water damage. Your landlord does not cover this. Tell everyone you know who rents to get it.
6. If you are the property owner and you have a fire, contact 24Fire at 888-648-7262. They can board up your house, remove hazardous materials and rehab it. They deal with your insurance company to save you the headaches. They have recently partnered with Heal Lawrence and have offered a special service through Heal Lawrence to property owners that hire them, they will extend hotel stays for your tenants short term.
Thank you for thinking of Heal Lawrence and our neighbors.
Juan 'Manny" Gonzalez