Escort driving your donations

An update on local fire victims

By Ashley Klann
Executive Editor

Clark’s student-run Escort team has proven that you don’t need to be a specialized club or have a large event to raise awareness about people in need.

Donations piled high beside the Escort desk in the AC. Photo by Ashley Klann.

The group of students started a chain reaction, showing how responsive the Clark community can be to families in our area who need help.

Over 25 local residents were left without a home after a four-alarm house fire on Charlton Street. The families, who are recent immigrants from Iraq, were left with nothing.

Escort vans were used to evacuate people from the scene, and The Bistro was used as a temporary shelter. Students also organized a donation service.

“We talk about it all the time, but this shows it. In response to events like this, the true colors of Clarkies come through,” said Leah Coleman from behind the Escort desk in the AC. “The students’ response has been really amazing. I was definitely surprised. Not only by the amount of stuff that was donated, but by how quickly people responded.”

It didn’t take long for piles of donations to accumulate next to their home base. Although the pile of donated bedding, food, toys, and toiletries in the AC is no longer there, students are still encouraged to stay active.

According to Coleman, of the six families left homeless from the fire, three have been placed in a local hotel, and three are in shelters.

“They lost so much,” said Alex Pollack, between answering phone calls for Escort van pick-ups. “Some of their Federal papers burned in the fire as well.”

“People can imagine what they’re going through,” Coleman said. “If this had happened to you or I – most people would get a supplement or a check. Most people would have family or some sort of support system. The fact that Clark has been able to be their support system is a great thing.”

“It’s a great example of how Clark helps the community. It’s a real issue. It happened, and people responded,” she said.

Even off campus, students have raised awareness. Fifth year student, Megan Mateer, hosted a donation night at a local bar where she works. Overall, she raised $128 for the victims of the fire.

“Faculty and staff have also helped a lot, as well as University Police and the library staff,” Coleman added.

“I’m ecstatic,” Pollack said. “It’s really cool that people were walking up and checking it out for themselves. They responded to our initiative and also got involved on their own.”

The last of four drop offs was made last Friday, but people can continue to help by bringing donations to the Escort desk or by contacting Leah Coleman at [email protected] An updated list of needed supplies is expected soon.