"Can You Help?" is a free service provided by Niagara Frontier Publications in an effort to help community neighbors reach out for your support.
Yard, bake sale to benefit ElderWood staff member
ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood will host a fundraiser to support an Island family that is recovering from a devastating fire.
A yard and bake sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Aug. 17, at Riverwood, 2850 Grand Island Blvd. The sale will feature a variety of homemade baked goods and household items.
Proceeds from the event will benefit ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood Director of Nursing Beth Lange, whose Grand Island home was destroyed by fire. On the evening of June 11, Lange was watering flowers in the backyard of her Broadway home. She smelled smoke, but dismissed it as a neighbor's bonfire. Back indoors, still anticipating her husband's return from the store, she noticed it was getting "very foggy outside." That's when she saw black smoke coming from her detached garage. It was later determined that grass clippings discarded by the side of the garage had spontaneously combusted.
Lange grabbed her 18-month-old son and her cell phone, leashed her bulldog and ran barefoot to the front yard, where neighbors were already hurrying to help. Although the Grand Island Fire Co. responded within three minutes, Lange said, "It felt like forever." According to the firefighters, a strong wind that day created a "perfect storm," engulfing her home in flames. Her family was safe, but the house and all their belongings were destroyed.
Fellow Riverwood staff have rallied for Lange and her family, responding generously with donations of clothing and household items that fill the garage of her parents' home on Grand Island, where the Langes have been staying.
Now, friends and fellow staff are hoping for community support in raising some of the funds that will be needed for the family to raze what remains of their old home so they can rebuild.
In the meantime, the Langes soon will move into a Niagara Falls duplex owned by a Riverwood staff member. They currently have no time frame on when they can raze the old structure or rebuild - and Lange is due with her second child in December.
"Beth is a wonderful, caring nurse and we're trying to help her out as much as possible," said ElderWood Health Care at Riverwood Administrator Colleen Krauss. "We're looking for as much community support as we can get."