Community joins together to help families displaced by overnight fire

Community joins together to help families displaced by overnight fire

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - More than 40 people are in need after they lost everything in an overnight apartment fire at the Lullwater complex in Columbus.

Matthew Tinker joined together with family, friends, and community members to provide a meal and the basic necessities like deodorant, diapers, wipes, toilet paper, paper towels razors, and baby formula for those in need.

"I've been there, you really can't imagine what you go through until you really have lost everything, and the community made going through that a whole lot easier," Tinker said.

Tinker and his family knows the struggles that these families are facing after they lost everything in a house fire on Apache Court just a few months ago.

He and his family with three children had to stay in a hotel for two months.

He said people helped during their time of need, and he just wants to help give back to the community.

"It was a rough process but we made it, and these other families will too," Tinker said.

Tinker said it's a community effort and his team has linked up with multiple business who donated items.

Additionally, they will have a gift card for every family. They will also set up a fund for these families as well as other families who may experience a fire or natural disaster in the future.

They will be meeting again Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Cooper Creek Park to help feed and distribute clothes and basic necessities.

The Red Cross says it has assisted 48 individuals with $6,000 total.

The money is distributed on client assistance cards. Allowances are based on family sizes; for example, a family of four it would receive $500.

The funds can be used however the victims see fit whether it's to purchase clothes, hotel room, or food.

The Red Cross also fed the families breakfast and coffee Monday morning and issued comfort kits including toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other necessities at the Lullwater rental office.

The office staff is collecting new items such as gift cards, diapers and school supplies for the children who lost everything.

Ashley Furniture is also donating free mattresses to the victims. Publix has donated food for them as well.

The public can make donations by going to Red,, where they can designate their money to stay in Columbus. Call 1-800 RedCross or the local number at (706)-323-5614.

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