Neighbors are helping a Richmond single-mother and her four children after a fire destroyed nearly everything they owned.
LaShonda Williams and her family was forced from the home they rented on Maplewood Avenue when flames tore through their home Friday evening. She and her older son, Tyquan, were upstairs. Investigators say the fire was accidental, but haven't released the cause yet.
"It just went ablaze so quickly. The fire ripped through everything," said Williams. "I was just praying and thanking God that me and my son made it out."
Williams and her children sifted through clothing donations left on their neighbor, Adria Scharf's, porch Tuesday. Everything they owned is now in ashes. The youngest sibling, Dayshaun, in grade school, says nothing will go to waste.
"I'm going to wear it, because I have to be grateful for what I have," said Dayshaun of the clothing he's received since the fire.
Scharf started a collection for donations, emailing and blogging nearby residents to help the children, who have touched the neighborhood.
"We know these kids well, and they've brought a lot of light to our lives," said Scharf of the three brothers and one sister. "They're out. They're on their bikes. They stop and say hi. They're really outgoing, and they've befriended everybody. "
Clothing, gift cards and cash have been left for the family. It gives Dayshaun hope that they'll will make it through a difficult time. He's thankful, and also proud of how his family has handled the devastation.
"I thought my mom was strong, and my family is strong," said Dayshaun.
The Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church donated some of its emergency funds to put the family up in a motel through next week. Beyond that, the family says they don't have any options, at this point.
Donations are being coordinated through Adria Scharf, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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