Friday in Gainesville featured a grassroots effort to provide community support after a devastating house fire.
Friends and strangers rallied to provide support in one local affordable housing activist’s time of need. Local activist Kali Blount returned from his shift as a nurse at a local hospital on April 9 to find nearly all of his possessions destroyed in a house fire.
Nearly a week later, he’s also found a new support system.
“I knew some people would help,” Blount said, “but I didn’t know it would be this effective.”
A house fire the night of April 8 claimed nearly all of his belongings, leaving him to pick up the pieces of his life. He’s not doing it alone.
“I connected with Kali,” Karrie Ford said, “and Kali said that one of his needs was for the debris to be removed from the house, so I set up Facebook account.”
Word spread, and when Friday came, dozens of volunteers were rotating through to help — saving what they can and throwing away what they can’t.
It’s a community effort. Volunteers came out all day on Friday, filling up a dumpster with debris from his home. They wanted to keep working — with dirty clothes and rolled up sleeves — until the home was empty. They cleared the debris piece by piece.
“It’s easy to feel down,” Blount said, “but when all these people come out here, I feel energized and I’m all in it like they’re all in it. They’re really helping me to keep going through this.”
The clean-up was set to continue through the weekend
Blount also set up a GoFundMe, which received more than $26,000 in donations from hundreds of people, including several local officials.