Park Ave. fire victims receive hotel stays as community provides help

An apartment fire that displaced 44 people Dec. 2 in Herndon has drawn responses from numerous services and community members to help as families embrace a holiday season much different than they expected.

Help has come through an outpouring of donations as well as help in staying in hotels for the short term, following the fire that officials say was linked to a charging cable.

“We are working to help make sure that these families have all of their short-term and long-term needs placed,” Cornerstones spokesperson Margaret Ann Lara said.

The nonprofit Cornerstones has been working with the Fairfax County Emergency Operations Center, county schools, a helpline for residents known as Coordinated Services Planning (703-222-0880), the American Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region and other safety net providers  to address the “devastating impact of this fire,” Lara also said in a statement.

Cornerstones, the social services organization known for assisting homeless individuals and families, has also provided gift cards so victims can purchase food, clothing and transportation. It’s also working with other agencies to provide support for many suffering from emotional and physical trauma, Lara wrote.

“In that same light, the community’s support is extraordinary. We’ve received generous offers of clothing, furniture, toys, appliances, etc.” Lara said in the statement. “Household and personal items will definitely be needed in the future. But for now, the greatest community support opportunity is to donate gift cards or make direct financial donations through Cornerstones, as we coordinate resources to help with short-term needs and anticipate the long-term supports required for these families over the next 8-12 months.”

The organization plans to partner with local nonprofits, faith and civic groups and corporate as well as individual advocates to help fulfill families’ needs for household goods, furniture, appliances and more.

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