Community aids fire victims | Top Story Leave a comment

BATAVIA — As a Batavia family tries to get back on its feet following Tuesday’s fire on Maple Street, the local residents are doing what they can to help.

A GoFundMe page for the residents of 37 Maple St., set up Tuesday evening by Ally Scofield, was near its $5,000 donation goal by Wednesday evening. As of about 6 p.m., about $4,740 had been donated.

Scofield said she has been best friends with Brittany Johnson, who lived at 37 Maple with her sons, Bentley Sherman and Jaxtyn Krantz; her fiance, Patrick Krantz; her mother, Marlene Hartford, and Hartford’s boyfriend, CJ.

“I have been best friends with Brittany, which is the mother of the two boys, for over 10 years now. Her family is my family,” Scofield said. “I am amazed with everyone coming together and I’m going to raise as much as I can for the deserving family.”

Scofield said she will raise more if the $5,000 goal is met.

“I have talked to them (the victims of the fire) and they are speechless and overwhelmed,” she said.

The six residents got help with needs such as lodging, and clothes from the Red Cross on Tuesday following the fire, which is still under investigation.

While the GoFundMe campaign was continuing, Batavia resident Stacy Wirth and her friend, Dawn Hagen, were out in front of Wirth’s 23 North St. home on Wednesday afternoon accepting donations for the fire victims. Hagen was dressed as the Easter Bunny and Wirth as a unicorn. They were giving away candy for Easter and posing for pictures with people who came by, while taking the donations of money or other items.

“We heard about the fire. She (Hagen) had come over yesterday (Tuesday) with the bunny costume. We saw so many people go by and smile and laugh, and honk the horn, that I just said, ‘Why don’t we do it again today and for a better reason — to help collect for this family that is left with nothing?’ ” Wirth said Wednesday. “We’re just out here doing the right thing.”

Wirth said they have connections with the Junk Drawer shop, 238 Ellicott St.

“Anything that was donated, we’re going to send over there. They have room for storage,” she said.

While Wirth and Hagen were out in front of the house, Bill Hoddinott, who was in town from Virginia, drove by and gave them $20. Hoddinott said he drove by Tuesday and saw the fire location. On Wednesday afternoon, he said, he was driving by on North Street and saw what was going on at Wirth’s home.

Another who came by, this time with items to donate rather than money, was Kiwsayka Rodriguez. She brought donations including a portable crib, a high chair, clothes, passifiers and bottle warmers.

Wirth said those who want to donate items other than money can continue to do so by leaving them on her front porch or bringing them to the Junk Drawer.

“Clothes, housewares, almost anything — anything will help,” she said. “I’m sure linens would be a great thing.”

On Friday, the employees at Premier Genesee Nursing and Rehabilitation will hold a basket raffle, during which they buy tickets for items as a fundraiser for the fire victims.

“As far as the basket raffle, I put a bug in everyone’s ear at work and they just took the ball from there and got it rolling,” Wirth said.

Nurse Unit Manager on Rehab Nancy Huntley said the raffle will be from around 8 a.m. until about 2:30 p.m. There will be a drawing that afternoon and the winner need not be present, she said.

“A lot of the staff at Premier Genesee are participating and donating stuff. We’re also doing donations and one of the retailers are also going to help with donations, furniture and things like that,” Huntley said. “We do those (raffles) frequently and usually every department will put a basket together and put it out for the raffle. They sell a roll tickets usually when they have raffles.

“Usually they sell about 100 tickets. that’s just on a general raffle. I think this one will be more,” she said.

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