Caring for our Community: When Crisis Comes
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Many of us have experienced upheaval in our lives in the last few weeks but for one family in our church, the last fortnight has completely changed their lives.
On Saturday 30th May, the row of terraced houses that the Whaite family lived in accidentally set on fire.. Phil and Helen were able to get themselves and their two children Daniel and Alex out to safety quickly but they had to witness as firefighters struggled to put out the fire in their home. It was clear even at that stage that the majority of their belongings were damaged through fire, smoke and water, and overnight the Whaite family became homeless.
Safe but in shock, they have spent the following few days piecing together a plan for the short term future with the help of their family, friends and insurance company. As a church we have been trying to help them with these plans and grieving with them for what has been lost.
Helen wrote just a few hours after the event: “I just want it to be a bad dream. I want to wake up and be in our house. I don’t want to explain to the children that everything has gone. This might be hard for some to get their heads round but I’m thanking God that we got out safe, I’m thanking God that it didn’t happen overnight. I’m thanking God for incredible family, friends and strangers who without hesitation have rallied round to support us… I don’t know how to sort this but I know that we will be OK.”
In the last few days they have stayed with friends and in a hotel room, and this week their prayers were answered when they found a suitable house for rent for the four of them. This will hopefully be their home until the repairs on their own house are completed at some point next year. From clothes to furniture, and meals to messages of hope, there has been an outpouring from people who have heard their story and wanted to help. Our Valley Kids team have been supporting the children’s emotional wellbeing and many people from the Whaites’ connect group have been finding practical ways to help them move into their temporary accommodation. Helen’s parents have been delivering food parcels during lockdown through the organisation Community Network and Outreach Service, and the group have donated many items to the family to replace what they have lost.
The family wants to thank everyone for their prayers, help and encouragement. They have massively appreciated all the care they have been shown over the last few days and are so grateful to everyone for your generosity and for the love they have been shown.
So… how can you help?
Several houses were impacted by the fire and there is a general fund to help all the neighbours, including the Whaites.
We have also been asked if people can give through church and so if you want to give specifically to them , you can do this through the People Matter COVID-19 Fund putting in the details and/or reference number section ‘The Whaites’ or ‘Helen & Phil’ and we will pass on your generous gift.