Texoma residents have been stepping up in large numbers to help assist those who were affected by the fire’s that hit the 300 block of West Main Street in downtown Denison a little over a week ago.
There are a number of fundraising and donation locations around town helping out the victims of the Oct. 9 fires that displaced a number of residents and local businesses.
Thursday morning the Denison Main Street Advisory board met to discuss all the giving and donations. At the meeting it was determined a committee needed to be formed in order to handle the disbursement of the funds and to help coordinate efforts.
“The community response in the aftermath of the fire on Main Street has been incredible and indicative of the generous nature of the Denison community,” Denison City Manager Jud Rex said in an email. “Many tremendous efforts have been started to gather donations to meet the needs of those impacted by the fire. An account has been set up under Denison Forward at First United Bank, and donors are encouraged to utilize that resource and the many other opportunities available. We have been working closely with the residents, business owners, and other stakeholders to determine what needs exist for cleanup, recovery, and rebuilding. We look forward to helping facilitate meeting the needs of those impacted by the fire.”
Mayor Janet Gott suggested the committee be made up of private citizens saying she would rather not get the city involved other than directing people where to donate.
Here are five ways to support those affected by the fire.
1. First United Bank’s Denison Forward fund.
First United Bank, at 931 West Main Street, has an account set up under the name Denison Forward.
There will be a committee formed to handle the disbursement of the donations that will be gather. The bank is taking cash donations at this time.
2. Tracy Realty donation location
Tommi Sue Hamoth said the Tracy Realty location at 800 West Main Street has become a central hub for donations. She said there have already been a number of things from clothes and shoes to household items, gift cards and other items to assist the families.
“These people lost everything,” Hamoth said. “Everybody is getting the word out about what other people are doing. we’re a donation hub. First United Bank is collecting cash while Rack City Archery is collecting furniture. There are a lot of efforts by people in downtown. Dominoes Pizza has donated gift cards. Everyone is talking to each other and willing to help.”
3. Hanging T shirts
The Hanging T, located at 310 West Main Street has teamed up with Downtown Denison Inc., and the Denison Arts Council to make a remembrance T-shirt available for those wishing to help support the victims of the fire.
The shirts are on sale at Main Street Mall, 500 West Main Street, and 301 Mercantile at 301 West Main Street.
All of the proceeds will go to the Denison Forward fund. The production of the shirts has been handled by a number of volunteers.
“It will help a lot of people,” Hanging T owner Kimberly Miller said. “We’re taking cash only on sales to make sure we can get the money to them faster than any other way.”
Miller said the shirts have a image showing all seven of the buildings that were affected by the fire, and it has the words “Denison Strong” beneath that. The addresses of the buildings are on the back of each location with the logo of the businesses that were occupying the buildings.
The shirts are priced at $15 for small through extra large. Larger sizes are available for $20.
The Denison Arts Council funded the first 100 shirts which all sold out on the first day on sale. Since then, a second order of 200 shirts was printed. With only a few left Thursday morning, there is another order of 300 shirts on its way to production.
4. Furniture at Rack City Archery
“You can drop off anything you want to donate here,” Rack City owner Keila Neal said of her shop at 531 W. Crawford Street. “We have a lot of space to store it so we will be storing it until needed. I think clothes and things like that are needed. I think gift cards and money are the most needed right now because they have to purchase new clothes and eat out until they find a place. The response has been overwhelming. People have been wonderful. People have been dropping things off every day. Some people have been coming by multiple times.”
Neal said they are available for larger items like furniture and bedding that Tracy Realty doesn’t have the room for.
Neal can be reached at 903-337-1978. Nietling Optical, at 417 West Main Street, is also accepting donations.
5. Concert and more to come
There are two more benefit fundraisers planned.
Old Iron Post, located at 101 North Travis Street in Sherman, will be hosting a celebrity bartender night with proceeds going to those affected by the fire in Denison, and Rustico is having a special reservations-only dinner with proceeds going to those in need.
Denison’s Main Street department is coordinating with Overdrive Entertainment to bring a benefit concert to Heritage Park on Nov. 10. A silent auction will take place later that day at City Hall, located at 300 West Main.
Main Street Director Donna Dow said there will be a mix of local bands and more widely known bands similar to how Music on Main is. However, she said it won’t be a free concert.
The city will block off the park and charge admission with funds to go towards those affected by the fires. She didn’t have any additional details Thursday afternoon.