Friday, December 2, 2022

Here’s how you can help those displaced by Wednesday’s fire

(WYDaily/ Courtesy James City County Fire Department)
A fire Wednesday morning destroyed a long-term care facility on Jolly Pond Road. (WYDaily/ Courtesy James City County Fire Department)

The recovery effort is already underway to help 11 people displaced by a fire Wednesday.

A long-term care facility on Jolly Pond Road was destroyed by a fire Wednesday morning. The facility was operated by the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, and served residents with physical and mental disabilities.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

None of the residents were seriously injured and have been temporarily relocated to the Norge home of the male staff members of the order, Sister Agnes Narocho said.

“Everybody was able to get out, and we just thank God that happened,” she said. “For right now the residents are doing okay. They had a good night sleep. We are trying to get some of the basic things we just lost. We’ve lost everything.”

She said the residents escaped with little more than the clothes on their backs, and the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi will have to rely on community support to help rebuild their operation. They have already received bedding and cots from James City County’s Social Services, said Director Rebecca Vinroot.

Narocho said there are two main ways members of the community can help.

Monetary donations can help cover short-term needs and replace essentials that were lost in the fire.

Eventually, Narocho said the nuns will have to rebuild the facility, and financial support will be crucial for the task as well.

“We are hoping the additional donations will help us construct a facility that can house that many people (10 guests and Narocho) or maybe even more,” she said.

Narocho said donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1356, Williamsburg, VA 23187.

Pastor Fred Liggin said the Williamsburg Christian Church is also accepting monetary donations, 100 percent of which will go to the Little Sisters of St. Francis. Checks can be made out to Williamsburg Christian Church, with Little Sisters of St. Francis in the subject line.

Narocho said donations to the Williamsburg Christian Church are also acceptable – and preferable to material donations as their short-term need for food and shelter are currently met.

Liggin added local faith-based organizations are coordinating with one another to make sure the residents are fed, sheltered and clothed. Instead of donating material goods to the Little Sisters at this point in time, Liggin said Good Samaritans should consider donating such goods to others in need throughout the community.

“The danger in duplicating services is you want to be a wise steward of what you have, so that things donated don’t go to waste, and so that you don’t donate to one place what you could donate to another,” he said.

The second way Narocho said residents can help is easier on the wallet.

“We need prayer,” Narocho said. “If everybody can lift us up and pray for us, that we can keep strong.”

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