By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In-kind donations have been pouring in, to help the displaced victims of the fire that killed four young children last Saturday in Southwest Philadelphia (see related story).
But the current focus is on monetary donations for funerals and other expenses to help the families resettle.
Shiwoh Kamara, chair of the social services committee of the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania, says the organization has set up accounts online and at Wells Fargo Bank to accept donations.
So far, he says, the effort has been slow-moving.
“We are asking the general public to help in our cause to bury our loved ones,” he tells KYW Newsradio, adding that several politicians including state senator Anthony Williams have offered to cover some of the burial costs.
But, Kamara says, more is needed.
“The donations are to cover the burial site, but there are other expenses,” he notes. “I don’t really want to put figures out there, but if I were to guess, I’d say we need at least $50,000 for the funeral and then to help the victims.”
Rev. Napoleon Devine, who has visited the displaced families, says there is encouraging news about the mother of the twin four-year-old girls (Maria and Marialla Bowah) who died.
“She’s now off the respirator, her and her daughter,” says Devine, “so there could be talk of funeral plans within the next week or so.”
Devine says clothing donations have poured into his Christ International Baptist Church, at 65th and Gesner Streets, and numerous victims have come by to get items they need.
However, he adds, there are some specific items that would be helpful to families who are staying with family and friends:
“They need inflatable beds, air conditioners, small refrigerators to store food, toiletries, bedding, pillows.”
Devine says other fundraising efforts are in the works, including a concert later this month.
To donate money online, visit the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania web site, liblap.org. To donate at Wells Fargo Bank, use account #8302617931, “Liberian Association of Pennsylvania Fire Victims.”