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Local News

Fundraiser nets Woodridge fire victims more than $30k for 'fresh start'

WOODRIDGE – An outpouring of community support for 11 families displaced by an apartment complex fire culminated with more than $30,000 in donations for the families during a spaghetti dinner fundraiser over the weekend.

The event was hosted by the Woodridge Jaycees, but a number of community organizations and residents pitched in, according to Debi White, an organizer of the event and a Jaycees member.

The 11 families were displaced when a fire swept through a 12-unit building in Golf Meadow Estates in the 7700 block of Woodward Avenue on May 1.

All residents – and their pets – escaped the blaze without injury but it caused catastrophic damage to the building, burning up most of the families' belongings. Fire officials said a propane grill caused the fire.

White said organizers were still tallying the totals from the fundraiser.

"It went really, really well," she said of the event, held Saturday at Zero Gravity. "We were very pleasantly surprised."

The affected families were among the 100-plus in attendance, she said.

"They were all just speechless and amazed at how the community came together for them to make them know they are not alone," White said. "We really wanted to help them get a fresh start."

White added that four of the 11 families have found permanent homes, while the other seven have been staying with family and friends.

Topping the donations was a $23,500 check from the DuPage Community Foundation, a grantmaking foundation formed in 1986 to benefit DuPage County residents.

Other notable contributors, according to White, included the Live Like Mike foundation, which donated $2,500, the Woodridge Rotary Club, the Woodridge Park District, the Woodridge Public Library, Bridgeview Bank in Woodridge, which collected gift cards, and Angel Song Entertainment, which donated DJ services. Local resident Pamela Chatmon Miles also organized a clothing drive for the fire victims.

Those who would still like to donate can do so by visiting www.woodridgejaycees.org.

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