Donations poured in for the victims who lost everything in the Arbor View apartment fire just over a week ago. Jane, a domestic abuse victim, says, "A lot of the women and men, when they're trying to get started over with life again, they have nothing. They walk away with nothing." Jane, who can't give her last name for safety reasons, recently fled from an abusive partner out of state, hoping to build a brighter future here on the Coast. Jane also says, "All I had was a suitcase, and hoped for the best." Although she was not a victim of last week's apartment fire in D'Iberville, she says the donations that have poured in to the Big Ridge Baptist Church to help the victims have helped her too. Organizers of the drive say it was their small way of giving back to those who have lost so much. Volunteers from the church say it was heartwarming to see the fire victims get excited about the little things, like a can opener.
Raymond Grabert, Pastor at Big Ridge Baptist Church, says, "Like one gentlemen, he came and he picked up a can opener and he almost just went crazy over the can opener ‘cause they have been having trouble opening up cans." Grabert says it has been a blessing to help not just the victims of the fire, but also others in need, like Jane, as well as various community organizations such as women's shelters and a veterans advocacy group, who say the left over donations will help their cause tremendously. Dale Bass of the Mississippi Veterans Service Network says, "It will help them when they get discharged from the V.A. Many of them went into the V.A. homeless or leaving without a home to go to, so when they secure an apartment, we try to set up their basic household items."
Any remaining donations left over from the drive will go to the Home of Grace Rehab Facility in Jackson County. Even though the church is finished collecting donations, they are still looking for a washer and dryer for one of the Arbor View fire victims.