â??I donâ??t feel like Iâ??m really doing anything. Iâ??m just here to give them what they need, and a hug. Iâ??ll give all of them a hug.â??
Marie Burk said this as she looked around a cleared out gym, that just days before had been stacked to the ceiling with trash bags full of donated items. With the help of several groups of volunteers, she has tirelessly worked to organize the items to be given to Fritch fire victims free of cost.
â??You donâ??t really realize what you miss until you see something you no longer have,â?? said one Fritch resident as she rummaged through the bedding, sheets, and clothing with the help of Burk.
Burk said working on Memorial Day never crossed her mind, simply that she wanted to help, and that she and her family decided their best donation would be her time. She also said the outpouring of donations and support from the community has been overwhelming.
â??You donâ??t really understand what these people have lostâ?|.basic things, basic needs. And then to have people donate them and give them, itâ??s just incredible,â?? Burk said while standing in a room full of stacks of diapers, food, snacks, and bottled water, all which had been given to the Donation Center by the Red Cross.
A group that had also donated their day was the Abundant Life youth group, who had come down from Canadian for the second time. When asked why they were willing to give their day off to volunteering, their answers were touching and powerful.
â??You know, if this happened to us, we would want someone to take their time to help, so why wouldnâ??t we do it for them,â?? said one youth group member.
â??We just want them to know that, even when they feel like theyâ??ve lost everything, they always have someone here for them,â?? said another member of the group. The youth leader, Clydene Pittman, said the group had been looking for ways to help in disaster relief, and that this had been the perfect opportunity since each youth could help in different ways despite their varying ages.
Two women, who both had either lived or currently live in Fritch, are also working to ensure that Fritch residents feel like they always have a friendly helping hand. They put together a project called â??Adopt-A-Familyâ?? that pairs families or individuals who want to give donations or support to the Fritch fire victims with specific Fritch families.
â??Weâ??re connectors. Thatâ??s what we do. Weâ??re putting these people who want to help with the actual families themselves so that they can establish a relationship and even friendship over time,â?? said one of the creators, Tracie Bidwell. â??If I was being helped, I would want to know where it was from, not just anonymously.â??
â??There will be three to four families on that one family who needs help, and that way they can help them not just today, not just next week, but months on end until they are no longer needing for anything,â?? so co-creator, Ashley Lefler.
As of right now, three hundred families are on a list to be paired with families in Fritch. So far, 24 Fritch families have been paired through Adopt-A-Family.
*If any Fritch families would like to be paired with a family, go to the facebook page: â??Adopt-A Familyâ?? or facebook.com/groups/245038262354593/