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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Families Displaced by Fire Get Helping Hand

November 18, 2000|ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

THOUSAND OAKS — When the parents of Lang Ranch Elementary School students heard that the Shadow Hills Apartments had been ravaged by a fire, they immediately knew what to do.

The PTA co-presidents sent out a flier to all the Lang Ranch families, asking for donations. Before the week was over, the cafeteria was packed with toys, clothes, food, books, money, blankets and toiletries for displaced families. One parent even donated $500.

PTA co-president Nanci Weaver said she knew Lang Ranch parents were generous, but the number of donations surpassed her expectations.

"I never imagined this," said Weaver, who spent Thursday afternoon sorting through the boxes and bags with co-president Karen Brousseau.

Shadow Hills Apartments, operated by Many Mansions, houses mostly low-income residents, were damaged extensively in a Nov. 12 fire. About 30 families were displaced by the blaze, said Lisa Safaeinili, director of resource development at Many Mansions. The first of those families won't be able to return to the apartment building until after Christmas, and some may not be able to move back in for nearly a year.

Safaeinili said she and the affected families are grateful for the donations from Lang Ranch Elementary School. Many Mansions has also received contributions from Glenwood Elementary School, as well as other residents and organizations.

"It's been incredible to see the outpouring of care and compassion for the community," she said. "It gives [the families] some hope as they try to start over."

Many Mansions is still seeking donations of prepared food, furniture and storage space. For more information, call 496-4948, Ext. 23.

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