Monday, June 15, 2009

When there's nothing left - Donating after the Renton Fire

Roy Beeler
5 of the 7 residents that lived in the building that caught on fire last week in Renton have moved across the street to live. Roy Beeler, the manager of both the building that was lost to flames and the one with vacancies to house the now homeless tenants of Wells Ave has been trying to organize situating everyone during this trying time. Problem is - when you have lost everything, their is a whole lot more to "moving in" than you would think.

Think "starting from scratch" and magnify that concept. That is what these people are dealing with today.

Having said that, the call out for twin mattresses for the tenants move was answered immediately by Salvation Army and as you can see in the photo below, already delivered. Red Cross provided each of the former residents with debit cards for $360 so that they could buy some necessities to help reestablish themselves and a bag full of things like toothpaste and a toothbrush. All of these gestures really help.

But, as of today - what can, Renton, still do to help? As of yesterday evening when I spoke with Roy Beeler, he said that a lot of the things that Marice Palmer listed in her letter that can be seen posted here on fellow blogger, Randy Corman's blog, had been secured. But things like sheet sets for twin beds, working TV's with converter boxes (even 13" screens would be okay - remember, the rooms are NOT that large) would be really helpful.

While I was there, talking to both Roy Beeler and peeking in on the beehive of commotion as The Comic Den moved into their new digs in 822 S. Third Street, there was a woman who stood out in her efforts on behalf of these men who lost their homes. Her name is Stephanie, and she lives just around the corner in a neighboring building from where the fire occurred. She is longtime Renton resident, friend to Roy and friend to the displaced tenants of the fire.

"It could have been me. It could've been my house that was on fire " Stephanie told me as she handed yet another bag of bedding, fans and alarm clocks to Roy Beeler. The next thing I knew, she was coming back with bags of shampoo, razors, and other sundry items to give as well. "I get paid tomorrow", Stephanie said, as she leaned her head out of her car window to talk to Roy. "Ask the guys what they need and I will talk to you tomorrow."

Stephanie thought when she saw the billows of black smoke last week that it was her home that was going to be lost. She told me she is just spending the money that she would have had to use to get her own life up and going again on the people who are now faced with that same challenge.

(No picture of dear Stephanie ? Nope - she had more important things to be doing than posing for a photo. You go girl!)

PS: Kudos to Marcie Palmer, who was donating loads of needed necessities from her home while the rest of us were toasting our dogs with beer in hand at the Barks and Brews event. Also, the woman who came down twice with her truck loaded with nice chairs and boxes of clothes. You both, of course, ROCK.

UPDATE: 6/15 1:45 pm
*McLendon's donated the last three fans that were needed - way to go, McLendons!
*St.Vincent de Paul will be giving the tenants VOUCHERS so that they can buy clothes that suit and fit them. Great Idea guys!
*The Mayor's Office has called to ask how they can be of service - Yeah Denis Law!

Contact Roy Beeler :425-227-5433 if you need further clarification.
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