Greenville schools helping families who lost everything in apartment fire

Cherrydale Elementary asking community for donations to support affected students and families.

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – A community is coming together after an apartment fire destroys the homes of 45 people, many of them kids.

The Parker Fire Department tells 7 News the fire wasn’t suspicious, but they have not determined the cause of Monday’s fire at Century Oaks Apartments in Greenville. They do know it left affected families with nothing.

Now, Upstate schools want to help.

“We just wanted to wrap our arms around them and let them know that we care,” said Cherrydale Elementary School Principal, Deborah Johnson.

Johnson was driving home, Monday, when she saw flames climbing from Century Oaks Apartments around the corner from the school.

“We realized that belonged to our families. We have 26 families who live in that area, and of those 26, we had about 6 or 7 families affected by this fire,” she explained.

Parker Fire Department called the unit housing 45 people a total loss.

“When we got to school the next morning, the first question was “Ms. Johnson, how can we help,” said Johnson.

Johnson and the staff of Cherrydale Elementary got to work. In just two days’ time, they’ve filled a room of supplies from teachers and parents. Johnson said it is a start, but nowhere near enough to get their families back on their feet.

Now, they are asking for the community’s help.

“We can use our school area for anyone to use as a drop off for monetary donations, donations of clothing – we need children and adult sizes,” said Johnson.

Johnson said they are also working to find new places for these families to live alongside the Red Cross.

She said the most important lesson to teach their kids and community is to show love.

“Our children when they came to school, one little boy said, “You know, we lost everything, but we’re ok. We’re not hurt,” said Johnson. “That’s one of the biggest lessons too, because we know these things, they are material things and that’s where the community steps in to replace those things, but to know that people care about them. That’s great as well.”

Lakeview Middle School is also taking donations for affected students there. A spirit week next week will raise money and donations for these students.

Again, donations of adult and kids’ clothes, shoes, toiletries, supplies and monetary donations can be dropped off here:

Cherrydale Elementary School.
302 Perry Rd, Greenville, SC 29609
Phone: (864) 355-3300

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