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Local organizations donate to fire victims, but not WalMart

Submitted Thu, 01/30/2014 - 11:58am by Andy Alm

MEADVILLE – Families left homeless after Tuesday’s fire in downtown Meadville are receiving assistance from a number of local organizations.

“These families lost everything. It’s just devastating.  It’s unimaginable to most of us to just lose everything you have,” says Maria Firkaly from the Center for Family Services. 

They are taking donations of clothing, housewares, linens, and personal care products. Also accepting donations is the Humane Society Thrift Store.

Firkaly tells us furniture is a top priority.  The go-to agency for that is CHAPS.  Firkaly says they’ll come to your house to pick up gently used furniture for the victims.

“CHAPS will actually come to your home and get your gently used furniture, and take it to the Housing Coalition’s furniture closet.”

For monetary donations, contact either the United Way of Western Crawford County, or the American Red Cross. 

According to Firkaly and others we’ve talked to, a number of local businesses have been contributing to the relief effort as well.  We can’t name them all here, but we can tell you who’s not contributing.  Wal-Mart.  A store manager told us yesterday corporate policy forbids WalMart from contributing to local causes like this one because the company donates to the Red Cross and other charities on a national level.

However, the manager told us that the store is encouraging its employees to contribute to relief effort out of their own pockets.