The holiday spirit was in full force as donations poured Monday for two dozen Richton Park families who lost their homes in a large apartment complex fire.
A semitrailer dropped off so much food Monday morning that organizer Early Walker told people to take “as many boxes as you want.”
“The families out here are grateful, they’re excited,” said Walker, president and CEO of W&W Towing, on Facebook Live outside the Matteson Holiday Inn, where the families were staying.
“It’s right before Christmas, and they lost everything.”
The 26 families were displaced Friday after a cooking fire spread in the apartment building in the 3800 block of Canterbury Lane, according to a statement from the village of Richton Park. Fire departments from surrounding towns helped put out the fire.
“Thankfully no lives were lost,” said state Rep. Debbie Meyers-Martin, D-Matteson, who spoke from outside the hotel. “I’m so proud of the Southland — how we’ve come to step up and help our neighbors.”
The displaced families initially were taken to the Rich Township High School gym but were later upgraded to a week’s stay at the Matteson Holiday Inn after an intervention by Walker, Matteson Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin and Rich Township Democratic Committeeman Calvin Jordan.
The families also received clothing and gift cards totaling $200 per family, Walker said.
“We have to be out here and support our communities,” Chalmers-Currin said. “I’m just glad we were able to support our neighbors.”