The North Grenville community has rallied around a family who lost everything due to a devastating house fire last week. On Monday afternoon, October 22, Julianna Melnick-MacDonald rushed her two children, Willow (3) and Aurora (2), and two dogs out of their house in Mountain and watched as her home and everything in it burned to the ground. Julianna is the owner of Willow and Rose in downtown Kemptville, while her husband, Chris, is the owner of Now Taskr, run out of the same location.

“I was beyond speechless when she told me,” says Julianna’s friend, Heather Black, who has been spearheading the fundraising efforts for the family.

By spreading the word on social media, Heather says they have been able to gather trunk loads of everything, from clothing and toys for the girls, to dog food. In just two days, $6,450 was collected using the Go Fund Me account, which is about half way to their goal of $10,000. A silent auction on Facebook has also been arranged which will run until Sunday, to continue to raise money to help the family get back on their feet. “The amount of love and compassion for this family has been overwhelming,” Heather says.

Heather says it is important to her to support a family who wouldn’t otherwise ask for help. “They are a very humble family,” she says. “They are the type of people who will give you the clothes off their back.” She says that they are so dedicated to the community, that they made sure to wait until after last Monday’s election results were out, before telling anyone about the fire. “They have so much love and compassion for the community.”

Julianna and Chris are looking for a year-long rental, specifically a 2- or 3-bedroom house in Kemptville or surrounding area. As a response to the outpouring of people asking how they can help, Julianna has asked people on Facebook to send a card or note to Willow, who is being very brave, but is sad about losing her home. “I would love for you to send Willow a little card, drawing, note, family photo, photo of something you love, family pet – whatever – and mail it to her,” Julianna wrote on Facebook. “We will use these pictures, notes, cards etc. to help make her future room a bit more familiar, warm and homey.”

Those who would like to send Willow a message can mail it to PO Box 1677, Kemptville, Ontario, K0G 1J0. The family is not accepting more clothing and toy donations until they can sort through what they have and figure out what they need. They are accepting household items, which can be dropped off at 1868 Glencrest Road, or 302 Johnston Road. To provide monetary donations, visit their Go Fund Me page, or participate in the silent auction on Facebook.

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