Carnegie, PA, December 20, 2017: In the early morning hours of December 14th, a fire started by a faulty refrigerator in the kitchenette area of The Meadville Salvation Army, located 1087 Park Avenue in Meadville, Crawford County, PA. Captains Jim and Lori Brown, the commanding officers and ministers there, prayed that they could rely on the generosity of others to replace the items needed for Christmas assistance for the needy in the community. Although the fire was contained to a small area of the building, massive amounts of smoke and soot completely destroyed all of the toys and food that had been promised to needy families for Christmas.
“Praise God, for hearing and answering our prayers,” said Major Deborah Sedlar, the Divisional Commander of The Salvation Army’s Western Pennsylvania Division, adding, “The response has been overwhelming. Overwhelming, but not really all that surprising. I’ve learned that the people in Western Pennsylvania have extremely generous hearts and always rally around each other in the face of adversity.” In less than a week, close to $75,000 has been raised through online donations as well as people dropping off donations and mailing in checks. The amount of toys contributed was more than enough to meet the need, and extras are being stored in donated space for future needs. Monetary donations are kept in a separate account to be used on for expenses related to the fire restoration. At this time, the cost of the repairs to the facility and the amount to be covered by insurance remains unknown.
Due to the amount of smoke and soot that permeates the building, it has been deemed uninhabitable. Officials have been told that it will take a minimum of two months before the facility can reopen. In the meantime, The Salvation Army is looking for space in the community to use as a temporary location so that they can continue to be there for those in need.
“We are so incredibly grateful to all those who have helped us in the aftermath of the fire,” said Captain James Brown of The Meadville Salvation Army, “There are far too many to individually name them, but from businesses and individuals who donated toys or money; to those who have volunteered their time to help with sorting and distribution; to those who have offered their prayers, and to our friends in the print and broadcast media for helping to spread the word, we are thankful for each and every one of you.”
Celebrating 150 years of global service as both a church and a social service organization, The Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865. Today, it provides critical services in 127 countries worldwide. The 28-county Western Pennsylvania Division serves thousands of needy families through a wide variety of support services. To learn more about The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania, log on to www.wpa.salvationarmy.org The Salvation Army … doing the most good for the most people in the most need.