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Volunteers of America fire damage estimate: $250K

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With initial damage estimates from Monday's three-alarm fire at $250,000, Volunteers of American of Pennsylvania is asking the community to help it recover.

The estimate is for retail merchandise items destined for Volunteers thrift stores; according to a news release, Volunteers did not own the warehouse that held them. 

"We are in need of cash donations, contributions of retail merchandise and volunteers to help move the furniture and warehouse materials from the site to other locations,” said Melissa Vayda, who just became president and CEO of Volunteers at the beginning of May.

The release said the fire started at a vehicle salvage facility on Cameron Street and spread to and destroyed the warehouse and the Volunteers items. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

All revenue from Volunteers stores helps support more than 28 human service programs that the organization says reach approximately 28,000 vulnerable people each year throughout Pennsylvania. The organization also provides free clothing to individuals and families facing crises and, on referrals from churches and social service agencies, gives the needy vouchers to use in the stores.

The stores are stocked with donated merchandise. Volunteers says clothing, electronics, appliances, cookware and gently used furniture, including bedding and linens, are especially needed.

The agency is asking for donations of cash to be made payable to Volunteers of America Thrift Stores and mailed to its headquarters at 2112 Walnut St., Harrisburg, PA 17103.

Donated items can be dropped off at stores at 2550 Paxton St., Harrisburg, or 675 Silver Spring Road, Mechanicsburg; free pick-up can be arranged by calling 717-766-2999.

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