Missions helps out after blaze

Published 3:43 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019

As the Selma Fire Department (SFD) fought a blaze that tore through Chanticleer Apartments Tuesday, members of the Selma City Council began reaching out to Chad McEachern, President and CEO of the Edmundite Missions, for help.

“When a tragedy like this happens in our community, people in the city know they can call the Missions and that we will respond,” McEachern said. “For us, this isn’t about one night’s worth of comfort or consolation.”

Selma City Council President Corey Bowie and Councilwoman Angela Benjamin called on the Missions shortly after the fire was reported at 5 p.m.

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“I know they have been a mainstay in times of need for the community,” Bowie said, noting that after he was notified about the fire he contacted the Missions for help. “I know one of their aims is to help the needy in Selma and they did that last night.”

Immediately, McEachern and staff from the Missions’ Catholic Social Ministries office went to work delivering aid to residents impacted by the fire, which according to SFD Chief Chris Graham resulted in no injuries.

Edmundite Missions staff set up shop in the apartment complex’s office and began handing out meals and frozen dinners to at least 15 families affected directly or indirectly by the fire.

Further, the group distributed hotel vouchers to residents whose apartments were unfit for returning to and has scheduled follow-up meetings to provide further assistance and case management to people impacted by the fire.

Bowie also offered to assist residents with temporary housing.

“During crisis management, they often come through and not only provide financial services, but also spiritual support and economic support,” Bowie said of the Missions. “Most of all, they restore hope in stressful situations.”

“We are blessed to have great people working in our ministries that make the Missions a living, breathing part of the community,” McEachern said. “We want to turn all our services, like the ones we offered here tonight, into solutions that get these families back on their feet and on the path to a better life. We aren’t going anywhere. Like we’ve done since 1937, we’ll walk with our folks through this difficult time, as we do with all our clients.”

The cause of Tuesday’s fire is still under investigation.