In a Facebook message, Jenn Lawlor, director of social services for Bethel, called on neighbors to help neighbors.
"While it is not known yet exactly what needs replacing,we are certain they will need help," Lawlor said. "The Social Services Department will be supporting some of our local church leaders as they gather and disseminate information as to how you can contribute."
Everyone who wants to help or make a donation to help the families is asked to call Heather Knight McMillan at the First Congregation Church at 203-743-1877 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fire tore through the apartments and shops in the landmark three-story at 178 Greenwood Ave. in the center of downtown Bethel early Thursday.
Firefighters from Bethel and Stony Hill, with help from many mutual aid companies, fought the fire and rescued the residents. It took about three hours to extinguish the blaze.
"Families will get what they need the most," she said.
Church and civic leaders are determining what the displaced families need the most, and McMillan will share that information with neighbors and other church leaders.
Anyone who would like to make a monetary donation or supply a gift card for the affected families can stop by the Municipal Building —at the first selectman's office or the Social Services Department — or mail it to: The Community Council Of Bethel, P.O. Box 667, Bethel, CT 06801.
For more information, call Lawlor at 203-794-8537 or email her at LawlorJ@Bethel-CT.Gov.
"Thank you very much for being so willing to help!" she said.
A separate GoFundMe campaign is also underway to help the Giggling Pig, a children's art studio and party space, which was burned out of the first floor. The business has relocated across the street but is seeking funds to rebuild supplies in time to open its summer camp on Monday.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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