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Churches Gather to Help a Family in Need
When a family’s home was destroyed by fire, the community was quick to respond.

A house fire destroyed the trailer home of Amos Cunningham and his family in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, on the evening of March 28, 2010, leaving them without possessions. Officials are still investigating, but the fire may have started around the electric stove.

“[We haven’t] clued in … that we don’t have a home.

When Cunningham, his wife, and five kids, returned from their service at the Living Faith Chapel, “The first thing we noticed was the smoke and then the glow in the windows,” Cunningham told The Battlefords Daily News.

“Everything is totaled, they told us. Whatever didn’t get burned has smoke or water damage. My grandmother had made us a quilt for our wedding and [quilts] for a few of the kids – all that had sentimental value [and is now gone].”

The family is still in shock.

“[We haven’t] clued in … that we don’t have a home. It feels like we’re visiting mom and dad and tomorrow we get to go home. But we don’t. There is no home.”

The loss was hard on the children, especially 11-year-old Josiah Cunningham, who has autism.

“Change is not something he deals with well. He’s really into old antique stuff and he’s lost a lot of that stuff, like an old antique clock,” Cunningham explained. “I found it [and gave it back to him] ...He took it well, but he’s very on edge.”

Amidst the chaos and trauma of losing a home, there is a bright spot. Many in the community have gathered in support of the family.

Don Toovey, assistant pastor at the Reclaim Outreach Center, a Christian ministry to the homeless, said their ministry and many churches are banding together to provide aid.

One family offered their home to the Cunninghams for temporary shelter, but they declined. Instead they purchased an old tour bus from Canada’s Double Portion, a local Christian southern gospel family band with nine children. “We made a deal and took it over to them... Hopefully it will help them out,” said Duncan Hemmerling, the band’s manager.

Amos Cunningham is thankful for this arrangement. “The bus will suit us [well] until we can get a house.”

Kramer Ltd, Cunningham’s work place, is providing the family with support. “Province-wide. all the branches are collecting stuff for us, so as far as clothes and stuff, we’re doing pretty good now.”

Many have been helping the family, including two well-known local Christian aid workers, Brenda Lacey, who has headed an effort to gather donations for the family, and Melody Cook, who has set up a paypal account for anyone wanting to help: Cunningham7@live.ca.

Johathan Fehr is a reporter for The Battlefords Daily News.

Originally published in The Battlefords Daily News, April 5, 2010. 

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A ministry of
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada