On Centre: Penns Valley | Community reaches out to family affected by fire

mcarroll@centredaily.comNovember 18, 2013 

Members of a Penns Valley family have spent the past week picking up the pieces after a fire destroyed their home, but they haven’t had to go it alone.

Friends, neighbors and strangers have shown an outpouring of support, donating everything from clothes and toys for the children to household goods and gift cards.

Nate and Sarah Haupt and their seven young children lost their home last week when flames leveled the structure at the foot of Brush Mountain.

The family wasn’t home when the fire began, and no one was injured. But a family dog perished in the flames and the Haupts lost nearly everything that was inside their home on rural Ayva Lane off Brush Mountain Road.

In the hours after the blaze, family and friends had already started offering their support. Neighbors in the tight-knit community offered to house the family’s farm animals, among other gestures.

“We all look out for each other,” said neighbor Marlin Fultz Jr.

But it didn’t stop there.

Others in the community, some who didn’t even know the family, were looking for ways to help.

Laura Booz, who runs PennsValleyFamily.com, a website dedicated to local events and happenings, knew she couldn’t stand by. She used her platform to spread the word about a drive for the family at Grace Baptist Church in nearby Spring Mills.

“I think we can all empathize with the huge task of having to care for children while facing the tragedy of losing everything,” Booz said in an email. “I know I wasn’t the only one who wanted to reach out and let the Haupt family know that, as a community, we will each do our part to carry their burdens.”

Booz said the outpouring is an example of one of the community’s greatest treasures — “the willingness to help one another in time of need.”

She said church leaders have reported that the community response has been overwhelming.

The family, meanwhile, is ready to settle into a home in the Spring Mills area.

Anyone who wishes to help can contact the Grace Baptist Church. Donations can be dropped off at the church or mailed to the building at 3596 Penns Valley Road, Spring Mills, PA 16875.

Booz has been updating her website with items the family still needs, including certain types of clothing. More information can be found there.

“This is what it means to share a community,” she wrote.

Matt Carroll writes about news from the Penns and Brush Valley regions. He can be reached at 231-4631.

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