Thanks to the kindness of the community, the Martin and Saffel families from the Southside can enjoy their Christmases and look forward to the New Year.
But that wasn’t an easily foreseeable scenario in November, when a fire destroyed the Grassy Plains Store – which the Martin family owned – including the apartment above it where Kimberley Saffel lived with her two teenage children.
The Saffels lost almost everything they owned, and Kimberley also lost her staff job at the store when it burned down.
Almost two months later, the family has bounced back, with a little help from their friends.
A potluck lunch at the Grassy Plains Gospel Church on Dec. 23 was held as a fundraiser for the Saffels and for the Martin family, who owned the Grassy Plains Store.
“I was given a cheque for $752.43 at the end of the night after everyone put money in the cans,” Saffel told Lakes District News.
“This donation is actually going for Christmas for my children, she said. “I used some of it for pots and pans and cutlery and the rest went for Christmas for my kids.”
Online GoFundMe campaigns, as well as a donation account at Bulkley Valley Credit Union had already been launched after the fire and by the end of December had raised more than $11,000 for the families, said Catherine van Tine Marcinek, who set up the donation account.
The Martins, who weren’t able to attend the potluck event, were as of late November making plans to rebuild their store in the same location.
Saffel, who now stays with her children in a house in Grassy Plains, has also found a new job as a homemaker for elders with the Cheslatta Carrier Nation.
“The community has pulled together and given us a lot of support. They’ve provided us with basically everything we need,” she said.