AC Pup: CARES, community give hope to family who lost their home in fire

June 13, 2014 

Early last Saturday morning we arrived in the parking lot at Forest Hills United Methodist Church in Macon to set everything up for the collection drive for Danny Harper and his family. They’re the family of five who lost all their worldly possessions in a fire Easter weekend.

We set up the table, staked out signs and put up balloons in preparation for the event beginning at 9 a.m. We wanted to make it a happy, festive occasion even though the fire was a terrible tragedy that left the family with very few options.

The entire Harper clan including Danny, Toria, Nate, Jon and Stephanie got there early along with Danny and Toria’s mothers, Carol and Debra, and a slew of aunts and uncles and other relatives. All we needed was a grill to fire up, and we’d have a sure enough family reunion.

It was great. They all came out to show support and appreciation for what my nonprofit group, Central Georgia CARES, was doing for their loved ones.

Much to my amazement, people started arriving a few minutes before the official opening of the event with arms full of donations for the Harpers. There were people bringing pots and pans, chairs, mattresses and box springs.

All the volunteers and the Harper boys were quickly put to work unloading cars, greeting people and loading up trucks. We were so busy packing carrying and loading we weren’t really prepared for what we saw next. We looked up, and there was a caravan of trucks loaded with supplies for the Harpers.

It was just unbelievable. Trucks from Macon and Bolingbroke and who knows where else were rolling into the church parking lot. Then came a huge supply of brand new linens and bedding including sheets, comforters and pillows donated by Carol’s Linens.

And it wasn’t even 9:30 yet. The event had only been going for 30 minutes. In fact, the turnout was so overwhelming that we loaded up three trucks slam-packed full to take to the Harper’s storage unit.

Just as we were praising the Lord for this abundance of generosity, Aunt Patti’s phone rang. It was a lady managing an estate sale who offered the Harpers items from the sale. Everywhere we turned there were blessings coming the Harpers’ way.

The rest of the morning continued in the same manner. There were wonderful people coming out to help a family who suffered a terrible tragedy.

But do you know what was most amazing to me? People not only shared much needed supplies with the Harpers, but they also spent time with them, talking to them, encouraging them, giving them hugs and hope.

I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like to lose everything. But after watching people minister to the Harpers and show them love, I got a glimpse of what it means for a community to show its concern. CARES thanks you, Middle Georgia, for the gracious generosity you shared with this family.

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