The holiday season, with all its joy and wonder, can also be a tragic time for some. That is especially true for four students from Gray Court-Owings School and their family. Their holiday season brought with it the loss of their home in a devastating fire.
The fire that destroyed that home is among a spate of fires that have occurred in Laurens County since Christmas, including two in Clinton over the weekend and others in Gray Court, Laurens and Ware Shoals.
Despite the horrendous loss for the four Gray Court-Owings students and the rest of the family, which totals 10 people altogether, the family is county its blessings because there were no injuries.
The American Red Cross response team stepped in to provide temporary support for the family but that support expired this past Friday.
The large family still has not found a new place to live and continues to need assistance with shelter, food and clothing.
As a result, Gray Court-Owings School initiated “Operation Support Family Fire” to make the community aware of the family’s needs and to serve as a clearinghouse for donations to the family.
“It is unknown, at this time, how long temporary shelter will be needed,” said GCO School Counselor Angie Bigham, who is coordinating Operation Support Family Fire.
Bigham is leading the effort along with GCO Principal Phillip Dean, who says the effort is in response to questions from Gray Court-Owings’ students asking, “How can we help?”
GCO is accepting monetary donations. The school will use all cash donations to assist the family with temporary shelter and food. To ensure the integrity of the process, the school will directly pay the hotel where the family is staying and use additional funds to purchase gift cards for food.
Contact the school bookkeeper, Sissy Meadows, if interested in providing a cash contribution to aid the family.
Money collected during Operation Support Family Fire and not used toward temporary shelter or food, will be used to help the family with needed deposits to establish permanent living arrangements (rent deposit, electric, water, etc.) and finally bedding needs.
Once the family resolves the housing issue, it will continue to need clothing, furniture, kitchen items, etc.
“Because the family does not have the means to store these items at this time, we ask that you hold off on those contributions until the housing situation is settled,” Bigham said.
For additional information, please contact Gray Court-Owings School at (864) 876-2131.