JAMAICA -- A group of local residents will be hosting a dinner and dessert auction to raise money for the families whose home was destroyed by a fire last month.
As the flames consumed Mo's Market and the apartments above the convenience store in the early morning hours of Aug. 21, friends of Mohammad "Mo" Alkhatib were trying to think of ways to help his family.
Stephanie Amyot, one of the organizers of the fundraiser and a friend of Alkhatib's sister, said the fire was devastating for the families living there.
"A bunch of us wanted to do something to help them and people immediately had this idea for a dinner and dessert auction," Amyot said.
So the group sent out requests to everyone they could think of for donations for the dinner on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Jamaica Village School.
Mo's Market was considered a "total loss" and the fire, which fire officials determined not to be suspicious, caused more than $300,000 as it destroyed the store, the apartments above and a nearby storage building.
Three of Alkhatib's young family members currently attend the local school along with Amyot's children and the parents quickly became friends.
"They're such a wonderful, loving family," Amyot said of her friends. "We all wanted to do whatever we could to help them stay here in Jamaica because we know they love the area and the kids love the school."
For the past two weeks it was unclear if the families could
Dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m., on Saturday and will be served by donation only so that anyone can come and either pitch in a little, a lot, or just be there to show the community support for the Alkhatib family, she said.
Food was donated by the Abbey Group and Townshend auctioneer Kit Martin has volunteered his services for the dessert auction.
Amyot said many people have also donated tomatoes from their gardens to make the sauce and dozens of people have pledged to make a dessert.
Live music will also be performed by several local musicians following the dinner. A line-up has yet to be determined, she said.
For more information about the fundraiser, contact Stephanie Amyot at 802-874-4770; to donate a dessert, contact Janet Hamilton at 802-874-4010.
Josh Stilts can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.