Community Rallies Around Salem WEST After Arson
Tragedy doesn’t discriminate. Not between the rich or the poor, evil or good. That was evident on Wednesday morning when Salem WEST, an organization in Deerwood dedicated to helping others by collecting and redistributing daily life necessities, was destroyed by an arson fire.
“It was just total devastation,” Greg Meyer, Salem WEST Outreach Coordinator, said. “To me, it’s like losing our house. I’ve probably spent more time there than I have at home.”
Despite the fire, that didn’t stop Salem WEST from continuing its effort toward helping others. The group has been collecting donations of clothes, furniture, glasses, diapers, or anything that people need to live, from a community that understands the value of Salem WEST and its mission of helping others in need.
“I know as a resource, it’s used by many counties,” Nancy Schneider, a regular donator to Salem WEST, said. “And it’s a great program here.”
As people streamed in with donations, volunteers can be seen folding clothes or organizing the items, as they are grounded by the faith and belief that not even tragedy will bring down Salem WEST.
“Well this is part of our Christian belief in helping others,” Helen Ryen, a Salem West volunteer, said. “You meet a lot of wonderful people, a lot of needy people. But they are just as important as the people that have everything.
“Seeing that we lost our building and we have gotten such wonderful support as you can see behind us,” Elaine Dolquis, another Salem WEST volunteer, said. “It’s truly a God-send for everyone that has donated.”
Faith has been a strong word as donation after donation fills this room. But it’s not just their faith in the community that has gotten them through this tragedy. It’s also their faith in God.
“It just brings tears to your eyes,” Dolquis said. “It just shows that God is up there working.”
“We can’t believe how many people are coming to help us.” Ryen said. “We thank them so from the bottom of our hearts. So you can see God is living here.”
And as the team and community look up at the only thing salvaged from the building after the fire, their faith will continue to drive them as they aim provide a better life for others.