Allentown, PA – More than $67,200 has been raised and distributed to support the individuals and families affected by the May 29 fire that destroyed 10 homes in the 900 block of Ferry Street in Easton. More than 200 people, companies and organizations donated to the Ferry Street Fire Fund, established by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and Greater Easton Development Partnership (GEDP), with 100% of contributions directly aiding those affected by this disaster.
“This outpouring of support in a time of crisis truly speaks to the caring power of the Easton community,” said David Lewis, President, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. “Through this partnership with trusted and effective partners in the Easton community, donors can take comfort in knowing that their funds are properly managed and used only for those affected by the fire.”
The fire destroyed or significantly damaged 16 homes, displacing 32 residents including nine children under the age of 18 and two senior citizens. Ten homes will need to be demolished.
“Given the scale of the fire, it was important to partner with a regional organization like United Way to bring more visibility to the issue and, ultimately, more funds to help the households impacted by the fire. This is a great example of local organizations doing work on the ground with the support of the Greater Lehigh Valley philanthropic community being motivated to help the cause by the influence and reach of United Way,” added Jared Mast, Executive Director, Greater Easton Development Partnership.
Within days of the fire, United Way and GEDP began distributing funds for a total of $67,200. Approximately $31,000 went directly to the residents who were impacted, and $36,000 went to Third Street Alliance for Women & Children to provide stable housing for nine of the families who cannot return to their homes.
“The generosity of donors to the Ferry Street Fire Fund allowed us to mobilize and offer housing search assistance, security deposits and rental assistance to rapidly re-house households impacted by the fire. This initiative was successful due to the partnership organized by United Way and fueled by donors, community leaders and local landlords. It is a hallmark of what makes Easton, and the greater Lehigh Valley, such a wonderful place to live,” added Alisa Baratta, Executive Director of Third Street Alliance for Women & Children.
In all, over 200 people and organizations donated to the Ferry Street Fire Fund, including BSI Corporate Benefits, C.F. Martin & Co. Inc., Crayola, the F.M. Kirby Foundation and Human Active Technology. Additionally, organizations such as St. John’s Lutheran Church contributed to the fund with donations collected from community members.
“As an Easton resident and current chair of the United Way campaign with my wife Adrienne, I was so amazed but not surprised to see United Way, Greater Easton Development Partnership along with many other leaders and partners immediately come together to take care of our neighbors. I’m proud that our team at BSI Corporate Benefits could quickly contribute $10,000 to the fund to provide the basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter for all of the displaced people and children,” said Tony DaRe, Chief Executive Officer of BSI Corporate Benefits.
All funds were raised and distributed between May 31 and August 23.
As part of United Way’s Day of Caring, presented by Crayola, Victaulic, Dual Temp Company Inc., JP Morgan Chase and American Red Cross volunteers installed 119 fire alarms in Easton, making 77 homes safer.