Donations help charity recover from fire

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A Harrisburg-based charity was in desperate need of donations after a massive warehouse fire last week.

The May 12 fire that started at Hebron, Inc. on Hanna Street also destroyed the Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania warehouse along with $250,000 worth of retail merchandise.

“It was the only warehouse that we had. We had not fully cycled out our summer stuff yet, so a lot of the items that were lost would be things people would want right now,” president & CEO said Melissa Vayda said.

The clothing and furniture donations would have been sold in the charity’s thrift store on Spring Road in Mechanicsburg. Sales help to fund the organization’s programs, and some items are donated to families recovering from disasters.

“We lost everything we had except what was in this store,” said Eleanora Beam, assistant manager of the VOA Thrift Store. “We had maybe enough to operate a week. However, the call went out and the donations are just overwhelming.”

Beam says cars were lined up while people dropped off items over the weekend.

“We have a lot of regular customers and they have been coming in, even if they are just bringing one bag, they are coming in and telling us how sorry they were,” Beam said.

There is still work to be done. The charity serves over 1,000 families recovering from disasters each year.

“It is going take us a while to fully recover from the situation because of the volume of items that was lost,” Vayda said. “Right now, we are without a warehouse, so we are looking around trying to find a good price for a warehouse and a lot of our things are being stored in the back of our stores.”


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