Who/what: A Daleville, Covington Twp., mother and her two daughters are putting their lives back together after fire damaged their home just two days before Thanksgiving.
Missy Wesley, a waitress at Kay’s Italian Restaurant in Moscow, was at work when a fire broke out around noon in a rear bedroom of her home on Nov. 24. Her two daughters — Emily Whited, 16, and Grace Whited, 14, both students at North Pocono High School — were home at the time and doing their schoolwork. They called 911 and got everyone out of the home, and Covington Independent Fire Company was able to quickly put out the blaze. The family was unsure of what started the fire.
Why: Life is difficult for the family right now, said Amber Shaffer, cousin and niece of the family. The girls were only able to save a few items from the home, such as stuffed animals and a guitar, and needs medium- and large-sized clothes, stuffed animals and art supplies, since “they are both talented,” Shaffer said. Grace and Emily also moved in with their aunt in Old Forge and had to travel from there to school in North Pocono. The family had to wait for insurance adjusters to check the house and will not be able to stay there until repair work has ended.
“When it happened, we were devastated, but things are slowly getting better as we figure out what our next step is,” the teens shared on the GoFundMe page Shaffer set up to help them. “As of right now, our next step is finding a new place to live. We are unsure of where that place will be at the moment, but we are hopeful for the future.”
The family has expressed its gratitude for the donations it has received so far, including beds, dressers and other essentials. “Seeing the community come together at such a crazy time of year is truly the best part about both of our days,” Grace and Emily wrote, further sharing hope that, by Christmas, they might “have somewhere to be for good.”
How: To donate, visit the GoFundMe page, “Help Whited girls after fire,” or mail contributions to the family at 365B Daleville Highway, Covington Twp., PA 18444.
In her own words: “This is a family that always tries to help others and keep a positive mindset. They are truly extraordinary. Support would mean the world to them during this time of need. The girls are in need of everything right now, and the family is touched with the outpouring of support from the community.” — Amber Shaffer, niece and cousin.
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest