Help for families of Maple Shade fire

MAPLE SHADE, N.J. - December 23, 2010

Carrie Lyons and her 3 children Jake, Dean and Kali are among nine families who lost everything in a fire at the Maple Terrace Apartments in Maple Shade Sunday. The blaze killed an 82-year-old woman.

On Thursday, Carrie and her kids visited the 25 Club, a men's organization that opened its doors to victims the night of the fire and is now collecting toys and clothes, but primarily cash and gift cards to help families like Carrie's out.

"You got to feel for these people; it's the week before Christmas, we just want to get these people who have nothing right now before Christmas some cash and gift cards in their hands," Steve Atkinson of the 25 Club said.

"They need money to get in to other apartments, They need security deposits, they need clothes," Chuck Mars of the 25 Club said.

Carlos Medina says he and his girlfriend can use the 25 Club's help. But Ann Shanahan, another displaced resident, whose apartment suffered smoke damage, declined.

"Because other people need it more than I do. I don't have that much damage," Shanahan said.

The Lyons kids picked out a present and mom Carrie gratefully accepted several of the gift cards collected by the 25 Club members.

"People have been great. Everybody's reaching out and finding out what we need and people have been amazing. Just trying to make a Christmas for the kids right now and we'll go from there," Carrie said.

The 25 Club and a number of other civic organizations are continuing to collect cash and gift cards for their neighbors, who clearly need the help.

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