MSS students going door-to-door around Merritt today and tomorrow to collect food and furniture

The people affected by last week’s devastating house fire on Priest Avenue are continuing to receive support from the community, said one of the victim’s relatives.

As of press time the campaign to raise money for the six victims — two couples along with a mother and her child — has just passed the $1,000 mark. But it isn’t just money that is coming in.

The resource classroom from Merritt Secondary School, led by Tamara Flanzy, is going door-to-door today and tomorrow from just after 9 a.m. to about noon.

They’re starting in the Bench area and working their way down, collecting food and furniture for the couples. They’ll also have pickup trucks available for anyone who has larger items. They’re still looking for one dining room furniture set and a living room suite.

If people aren’t going to be home, she urged them to leave items on their doorstep, boxed and labelled.

Tamara Pelletier and her daughter Kenya have found a home, as has one of the other couples. The last one is looking for a place, but staying at a relative’s in the mean time, said Betty Ann McDonnell, Pelletier’s adopted mother.

She said the support that has come in for Kenya has been overwhelming. “People have been very good about clothes and toys, she’s set,” she said. “Some people have gone out and bought Kenya brand new things. The school, all her friends from Diamond Vale, everyone has been so kind.”

She said very little was recovered from the fire. Some clothes and work boots, but they aren’t sure they’ll be salvageable. “We’ll see if they can get the smell out, you often can’t in a fire situation,” said McDonnell.

As happy as Kenya was to have her puppies rescued, the other thing she missed were pictures of her father. When they were able to recover two of them, McDonnell said she was over the moon.

“Now that we have those pictures for her, everything is replaceable. Even if it was a doll it’s okay, the important things to them got out.”

Donations are still being accepted at the white house in the entrance to the Spring Island Mobile Home Park, email McDonnell at for larger items or to find out more.