"Bad things happen to good people," said Faith Richards, President, Auxiliary, Coaldale VFW Post 6982, as she described the struggles being felt by a Lansford family following a row home fire that displaced two families at 5 and 7 North Walnut Street on Tuesday. The fire, caused by an electrical issue, started in 7 North Walnut Street and spread slightly to 5 North Walnut Street. 7 North Walnut Street, lived in by Nicole "Nikki" L. Fink and her two children, sustained fire, smoke and water damage, while 5 North Walnut Street, lived in by Nicole Stove, only suffered minor smoke damage.
Immediately after hearing about the fire, members of the Coaldale VFW post stepped up to start a donation collection drive for the fire victims. "No matter what time of year, people should offer what they can in support of any in need," said Stephanie Richards, Faith's daughter and Commander of the Coaldale VFW, stressing the importance of helping people in need.
"Nikki just started a new job and couldn't afford renters insurance," said Stephanie, who sat side by side as cadets with Nikki during Panther Valley's JROTC program. "Nikki just started working at the Hometown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She doesn't have a car and struggles to care for her boy Josh and girl Jazmyn."
The Fink family is currently receiving temporary assistance from the Tamaqua Salvation Army, American Red Cross and Schuylkill Carbon Marine Corps League.
The Coaldale VFW is asking the community to donate gift cards, clothing, furniture, household items and monetary assistance. The sizes of the Fink family are Josh, age 7, sizes 8 - 10, size 2 shoes, a little husky; Jazmyn, age 8, sizes 9 - 11, size 3 shoes, skinny and tall; and Nikki, sizes 5 - 7 pants, medium tops, size 5 - 6 shoes.
All donations can be dropped off or mailed to the Coaldale VFW Auxiliary, 1 East Ridge Street, Coaldale PA 18218. For check donations, put "Fink Family" in the comment box.
They added they donations can also be dropped off during their Post's community Charity Christmas this Saturday from 10 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the post.
For more information, call (570) 516-6291 or contact Faith or Stephanie via Facebook.
Stove, who is staying with friends and family, said she only had minor smoke damage to her home and kindly stated she doesn't need any donations.
The Richards said that Nikki's two kids have more than enough toys, stressing that monetary donations would mean more to the family as they look for a new home.