By Jean Lotus
Contribution accounts have been set up at an Oak Park bank for two of the three families that lost all of their belongings in the Dec. 30-31 Forest Park fire that consumed a greystone three-flat in the 7700 block of Monroe Street. Also, Forest Park elementary schools where one family's children attend are hosting fundraisers to contribute towards the family's needs.
With the help of Community Bank, the Amy James and Lisa Williams families set up accounts for contributions to recover from the fire. The Review was unable to contact the third family.
Amy James is staying with relatives in Maywood while she searches for a new apartment for her family. Her two children have returned to Forest Park schools, a daughter in eighth grade at Forest Park Middle School and son in second grade at Grant-White.
The parent's organization Eagle's Nest at Grant-White will collect a monetary donation for the family, said fifth grade Instructional Aide Sue Giblin. The school will also be hosting a root beer float sale on Thursday, Jan. 16. The "Have a heart project" will allow children to buy floats for $1 during lunch, Giblin said. The money will be pooled to buy a gift card for Walmart so the family can buy essentials, Giblin said.
Teachers took up a collection among the staff for the James family at Forest Park Middle School, where daughter Chlesea attends. The National Junior Honor Society will also be taking up a collection for their fellow student, said staff at the middle school.
Williams said she was staying with her son at an extended stay hotel in Hillside. Her daughter was scheduled to return to college after winter break, she said.
"We are so grateful to all the people who reached out," Williams said last week. "Anything anyone wants to do is so appreciated. We have nothing, so anything is welcome."
Local Cub Scouts will also be raising money for the families' accounts, said Pack 109 leader Jill Wagner.
Clothing and household items can be donated at the Forest Park Community Center, 7640 Jackson Blvd., said Director Karen Dylewski.
The accounts are set up at Community Bank, 1001 Lake St, Oak Park, IL 60301. Mark donations to the James Family Recovery Fund and the Williams Family Recovery Fund.