Sterling School, organization helping families restart after apartment fire – NBC4 Washington

A school community and organization came together on Monday to help more than a dozen families who lost all of their belongings in an apartment fire in Sterling, Va., last month.

April Taylor, founder of the CatchAMeal program, worked with Guilford Elementary School to set up a table with toys, blankets, towels, books and other essentials.

“What we thought was helpful is that you have to hit the restart button,” Taylor said.

CatchAMeal partners with community organizations and businesses to raise funds and donations.

“The beauty, the blessing, is that they are going to see how Loudoun came together. It warms my heart,” Taylor said.

School principal Lauren Sprows broke the news to the children of the loss on the day of the fire, as most were at school when their homes were destroyed.

“I said, ‘We’ll be here for you no matter what. We are a family. We are here to be at every celebration, but also at every difficulty,” Sprows said.

Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey speaks with two heroes who saved residents from a burning building.

Families were called to school on Monday but didn’t know what to expect until they turned the corner to see the tables stacked with their “restart” gifts.

Reina Cruz, her husband and two daughters were among the families who were there to absorb it all.

“It’s a great blessing from God. We didn’t expect any of this and we are very grateful for everything that is being done here,” Cruz said in Spanish.

The elementary school community has come together to organize a gift card drive to help affected families, and now teachers have volunteered to stay after school to watch the kids so their parents can focus on rebuilding.

The biggest challenge for these families now is to find housing. A GoFundMe for Families has raised over $12,000 for this effort.

Fix (May 18, 7:10 a.m.): The organization in this story is not incorporated as a nonprofit.

Jeremy S. McLain