Every year, in nearly every town or city in this country, the Salvation Army is there helping those in need. Every Christmas they work tirelessly to provide toys for children and much-needed food for families who would otherwise have to go without.

From humble beginnings in the mid-1800’s, The Salvation Army has grown to 1.5 million members, active in 128 countries around the world. But, this year, the Meadville Salvation Army in Crawford County PA needs your help.

With Christmas just around the corner, more than 200 families in need may go without, this year, because of a tragic accident in Meadville earlier today. An overnight fire at the Meadville Salvation Army has left toys and food, earmarked for those who will need assistance this year, utterly destroyed.

Fire in the kitchen

Starting in the kitchenette, due to a faulty refrigerator, the fire caused devastating smoke and soot damage to the building and its contents. While it was completely contained to a small area, it did render the building uninhabitable.

An emergency trailer and heated tent have been set up on the property of the facility thanks to the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services Department. A generous donation from chipBLASTER, a Machining Manufacturer in Crawford County Pennsylvania, has made another site available for use to sort and distribute donations, starting next week.

Damage to the building is estimated at over $10,000. The toys which were donated to the Christmas effort were worth about $3,000 to $4,000 and more than $2,000 worth of food was lost. While the food was not consumed by the fire, the smoke damage and chemical odors render them unusable.

Captains Jim and Lori Brown are the pastors at Meadville and admitted to the Meadville Tribune that they are scrambling. Distribution is scheduled for next week but without generous donations from the public, many families may not get the assistance they need.

There will not be enough time to collect and sort food so the sorting efforts are being focused on the toy and gift donations. Donations of money are sought for the food assistance, which will have to be given in the form of gift cards.

The Meadville Christmas Red Kettle Campaign has currently only reached about 37% of their goal which is somewhat less than last year's totals.

Donations are required

Donations of goods or cash will be gratefully received at their 1087 Park Ave. location from 8 AM to 5 PM. Friday, Saturday, and Monday. To make a donation online go to salvationarmywpa.org/meadvillefire