LAWRENCE, Mass. - Thousands of residents across the Merrimack Valley have been impacted by Thursday's devastating fires and explosions.
Dozens of homes have been completely destroyed and some have lost everything.
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There is a great need for donations and volunteers to help these victims. But beware, officials say there are scams going around. Public safety officials in Andover are not soliciting monetary donations of any kind.
As thousands return to their homes today in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, some may find their homes unlivable or uncover additional damage.
To serve all those affected a Resource Recovery Center will open Sunday at 1 p.m. at Arlington Middle School, 150 Arlington Street in Lawrence. Government agencies, nonprofits and city services will staff the center to aid with issues such as emergency housing, food, prescription medication access, driver’s license replacement, cash assistance, essentials, etc.
We are back at the Recovery Resource Center today! OPEN with staff from many organizations, as well as state agencies @DTA_Listens @MA_DHCD @Mass_DCF @MassDMH @MassRMV + the Division of Insurance + @RedCrossMA [150 Arlington St, #Lawrence - MON 10-4] #MVGasFire pic.twitter.com/KMkJym1izd— Salvation Army of MA (@SalvationArmyMA) September 17, 2018
The MASS 2-1-1 non-emergency line is also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Individuals or families can dial 2-1-1 to be connected with resources and the appropriate community or government based organizations for their specific needs.
The Lawrence Senior Center is no longer accepting donations due to high volume. Please direct your donations to the Salvation Army at 132 Merrimack St. in Haverhill and 10 Munroe St. in Lynn.
- Non-perishable foods
- Granola bars/ nuts/ applesauce
- Juice boxes
- Hand sanitizer
- Alcohol wipes
- Baby formula
- New underwear
- Feminine products
Officials say they are also accepting volunteers.
For those who would like to make monetary donations to the recovery effort here are established Lawrence Relief Funds:
Essex County Community Fund: A Lawrence Emergency Fund has been created for those affected by the explosions and fires. You can help by donating here.
Greater Lawrence Relief Fund has been set up to help families meet their basic needs and recover from the displacement from their homes and businesses caused by gas explosions. To donate, visit their site here.
Residents without power can also go to the senior center at 155 Haverhill St, Lawrence, MA 01840 to charge devices.
The Salvation Army Massachusetts Emergency Disaster Services is also helping victims. They have six canteen trucks/mobile feeding units in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover to provide first responders and residents breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Once recovery begins, the Salvation Army says it will be giving food vouchers to those in need, helping them rebuilding, working to provide furniture and other household items, as well as emotional support services.
The Salvation Army is accepting online donations. Checks can be sent to The Salvation Army Attn: Massachusetts EDS, 25 Shawmut Road, Canton, MA 02021.
The American Red Cross continues to operate shelters for residents in need. Continuous updates on relief efforts and how long shelters will stay open are available on Twitter @RedCrossMA. Anyone interested in making a donation to The American Red Cross Relief Efforts can call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to give a $10 donation.
The MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen is offering emergency sheltering and medical care for pets affected by the Merrimack Valley Gas Fires. Call Nevins Farm directly at 978-687-7453 ext. 6101 for additional information.
TD Bank's Charitable Foundation and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley have established the Greater Lawrence Relief Fund and made an initial distribution of $50,000 to: American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, Family Services of Merrimack Valley, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, and Lawrence Community Works.
United Way and TD Charitable Foundation have provided contributions of $25,000 each to launch the Merrimack Valley Relief Fund to help the communities of Andover, Lawrence and North Andover with their recovery and rebuilding efforts in the weeks and months ahead. One-hundred percent of the funds raised will be distributed to the affected communities.
United Way is also providing assistance to families through its 211 service.
For emergencies, call 9-1-1.
Columbia Gas of Massachusetts
• Property Claims Hotline – 1-800-590-5571
• Dedicated Customer Service – 1-866-388-3239
• Gas Emergency – 1-800-525-8222
Municipal Contact Information:
Boston 25 News will update this story with any additional donation resources after we confirm legitimacy.
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