Commissioner Stan Watson, South DeKalb help Meadowview families after fire
ATLANTA—Ten Meadowview Elementary School families are especially thankful this holiday season.
Their South DeKalb community came together to donate clothes, toiletries, necessities, and even toys and gift certificates to help them after their belongings were destroyed in a fire at their apartment complex in early October.
DeKalb County Commissioner Stan Watson worked with the Organization of DeKalb Educators, Commissioner Larry Johnson, State Rep. Howard Mosby, DeKalb Clerk of Court Debra DeBerry and the Gresham Park Neighborhood Association to hold a donations drive for the families, who collectively have 21 children, 12 of whom are students enrolled at Meadowview.
A 7-year-old child who was playing with a lighter under a sofa caused the fire at the Paradise East Apartments on Bouldercrest Road, where the families lived.
“The community really rallied around these families. It was a blessing that they received the help they needed,” said Meadowview Elementary School Principal Norman Thomas, who oversees the school’s 400 students and faculty.
Assistant Principal Amelia Jefferson thanked Watson and others who helped, as well as parents at the school.
“Parents came by and dropped off clothes and many items that were needed. Everyone just worked together on this,” said Jefferson.
With Christmas on the way, the families won’t have to worry about presents for their children either. Commissioner Johnson said he plans to have the kids adopted through his Tree of Love giving program. Every year, Johnson puts up a tree at the Gallery at South DeKalb and asks the community to take buy gifts for needy children’s whose names have been submitted for the program.
Deirdre Pierce, director of the 11th PTA district, which includes schools in the city of Decatur and DeKalb, Rockdale and Newton counties, said efforts like the donations drive and the Tree of Love program demonstrate the strength of the community.
“We thank God for your lives,” Pierce told the families. “Things can be replaced, but your lives cannot.”
Watson said he was glad everyone who was asked did their part to help the families.
“Even the neighborhood Wal-Mart stepped up to help. I just want to thank everyone,” Watson said.