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Chester County Press

Community responds to Kennett Area Food Cupboard fire

10/21/2019 02:18PM ● By Richard Gaw

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

On Oct. 13 at about 4 a.m., crews from the Kennett Fire Company No. 1 and the Avondale Fire Company rushed to the Kennett Area Community Service (KACS) warehouse on West Cedar Street in Kennett Square, and quickly extinguished an electrical fire that had destroyed about half of the food at the Kennett Area Food Cupboard.

On Oct. 15, Beth Erisman, KACS’ social media coordinator, posted a notice on the organization’s Facebook page that detailed the extent of the damage from the fire, and appealed to the community to help.

“Last month, we served 1,124 people, and those people are counting on us and YOU, the post read. “We are asking the community to come together and go above-and-beyond their usual generosity to help us create a stopgap until we are up and running again.”

The post called on the community to contribute $25 Giant gift cards (will allow people to get the basics like bread, milk and eggs), as well as rice, beans, cereal, sugar, flour, pasta, peanut butter, jelly and canned goods.

As of Oct. 17, the post had been read by 61,591 people and has been shared 918 times. All week long, church groups, civic organizations, youth soccer clubs and Little League teams have made donations, the volume of which has gotten to the point where volunteers had nearly completed loading two POD moving and storage trucks worth of food that will eventually be stocked on the warehouse shelves.

KACS board member Lynn Majarian said that the St. Michael Lutheran Church in Unionville holds a community bible study every Tuesday morning. When word of the fire reached those in attendance, the group donated $1,200 to the Cupboard.

The compassion has extended to other entities. Bike Kennett is asking all riders participating at the Pumpkin Fun Ride on Oct. 26 to bring a can of non-perishable food that will be donated to the Cupboard. Gallery Duo in Chadds Ford will be donating 10 percent of the sale of all loose photographic prints to the Cupboard. At the Avon Grove Intermediate School, donation boxes were set up in the front lobby area of the school.

 “We communicated to our board, to our staff and volunteers, and then it started – a wave of compassion and generosity that is very hard to measure right now,” said KACS Executive Director Leah Reynolds. “This organization has never had this kind of incident before, so we are learning as we go. There is a lot of work to do, but without our board, we would not have been able to get to today – Thursday.”

While the warehouse has been temporarily been shut down, Reynolds said that SERVPRO began the cleaning process last Friday, which should take about one week to complete.

“Our board and our volunteers are currently sorting through the many donations that are coming in, so that eventually, we can tell the community ‘Thank You’ when we get to the end of this,” she said.

To make a donation to the Kennett Area Food Cupboard, visit, or call 610-925-3556. Kennett Area Community Service is located at 136 West Cedar Street in Kennett Square.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].