Neighbour seeking community donations for Mount Forest fire victims

MOUNT FOREST – A neighbour has started an online fundraiser to help a family whose apartment was destroyed by fire earlier this week.

A May 24 fire at an apartment building located on John Street in Mount Forest caused about $50,000 in damage. The family that lived in the unit where the fire started was taken to hospital as a precaution for smoke inhalation.

Jennifer Bisschop Redcliffe, a Mount Forest resident who lives in the building adjacent to the fire-damaged apartment, has created a GoFundMe page dedicated to helping the family.

Bisschop Redcliffe said the family lost everything in the fire and it will be a long time before the apartment will be liveable again.

Donations will be put towards replacing all of their furniture, kitchen, toys, bedding, clothing, food, towels, and other household items. They will also go toward helping them through this period of transition with living arrangements.

Bisschop Redcliffe is also asking for non-financial donations for the family, including:

  • boys clothing, size 4T to 5T, pull ups size 5 or 6, kids shoes size 10;
  • women’s clothing size 14 to 18, women’s shoes size 8-9;
  • men’s clothing size M-L, men’s shoes size 11;
  • toys for ages 2 to 4; and
  • non-perishable food items.

“This is a very close-knit community, (especially) between the two buildings,” Bisschop Redcliffe said.

“I figured my way of helping was to do this”

Bisschop Redcliffe said the boy living in the apartment is turning three years old very soon. She has been taking donations of clothing, shoes, toys, kitchen supplies, and non-perishable food for the family.

“Clothing and shoes are a necessity,” she said. “The family has nothing with them except for what I’ve been able to bring to them.”

Bisschop Redcliffe is asking people donating food to only give non-perishables.

“I’m setting up a pantry for them, so they have food to access no matter where they’re going,” she said.

Bisschop Redcliffe is also asking people to donate grocery store gift cards for the family, so they are able to buy perishable food.

She added any household item would be appreciated.

“They also need kitchen stuff,” she said. “The kind of things we take for granted, like dish towels, linens, and sheets.”

The family’s apartment was completely destroyed by the fire.

“There was basically nothing in there that could be saved,” she said.

Bisschop Redcliffe said the apartment above the family’s destroyed home, while not completely destroyed, was significantly damaged.

She plans to create a second GoFundMe page for the single mom living in the apartment with her two children.

“It’s one thing to have your house damaged by a fire, it’s another to be left uncertain as to what will remain of your home,” she said.

“Whatever we can do to help them, will help this community. Right now, the community is hurting.”

Over $2,300 has already been raised. Bisschop Redcliffe hopes to raise $15,000 for the family.

Bisschop encourages people to donate by contacting her at 416-908-2610 or visiting the GoFundMe page.