As cleanup work continued at an apartment building that caught fire Thursday in Williston, community organizations on Friday gathered donations to help the dozens of families affected by the blaze.
The Williston Basin United Way and Boxed Up Generosity set up a central location for those displaced at the Raymond Family Community Center. It is open from noon to 7 p.m. and will be for more than a week.
On Thursday, an apartment building in a complex on 42nd Street West caught fire in the early hours of the morning. No one was injured, but dozens were left without homes.
On Thursday, 57 people from the complex sought aid through the Red Cross.
On Friday, volunteers were still sorting through piles of donations, even as residents came through to get what they needed. Heather Wheeler, with the United Way and Family Voices of North Dakota said the donation center was somewhat light on toiletries, diapers, baby food and non-perishable food. Plenty of clothes had already been donated, she said, but more baby clothes were needed.
Right now, volunteers and community groups are focused on meeting the most immediate needs after the fire. Many of those who lived in the apartment building that burned are temporarily staying in hotels, so Wheeler said the groups are asking for donations of food that can be cooked in the microwave and can be stored on shelves.
But, she said, there will be longer-term needs, as well.
“That’s why this is going on for over a week,” Wheeler said. “That way we can help with the need that’s more long-term.”
Longer-term needs include furniture and kitchen items, including pots and pans.
Outside groups are also collecting donations for people displaced by the fire. The Williston High School Cheer team set up donation boxes at Hardees and Walmart in Williston on Friday afternoon and planned to be out again Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.