HALFMOON — This local organization is helping house fire victims as soon as the fire department is called.
After the Fire, Inc is a non- profit organization run solely by local volunteers that come to the victims’ aid with both resources and emotional support as the emergency is occurring. Their motto is “fire does not discriminate.”
While After the Fire, Inc is based out of Halfmoon, members will respond to fire emergencies across Saratoga County. The organization is alerted with a page sent from Fire Control dispatchers (911), and members closest to the scene will show up with personal hygiene items, as well as a donated night in a hotel. Members will respond regardless of the time to help these victims.
Maureen Smith, is the current Vice President of After the Fire, Inc and does a lot of the behind-the-scenes work. Since the organization is a non-profit, it operates on grants, written by Smith, personal donations and fundraising. The organization also gives a $100 gift card to each family member affected by the fire. Just last year the organization spent almost $14,000.
“Last year we got hit hard. Several apartment buildings were hit and we’d show up and have to have 15 to 20 gift cards,” Smith said.
Smith is from Saratoga and has been a member for around five years. She first heard about After the Fire through an ad in the local Moneysaver.
“I was at a point in my life and just wanted to join something and volunteer my time to help people,” Smith said.
Most recently, After the Fire, Inc helped the Broadbent family of Malta. On May 2 a house fire claimed the life of one family member and sent five others to the hospital. All the children in the family were adopted and some suffer from profound disabilities.
“That was a really hard one,” Smith said. “So we tried to go a little above what we usually do... We stayed with them longer but I think every family, if there are little kids involved, we do try to provide blankets, books and stuffed animals to make it a little easier for them,” she added.
After the Fire, Inc was formed in 1991 by ladies’ auxiliary members from Halfmoon and Clifton Park areas that felt fire victims needed tremendous help after the fire was put out and the fire trucks were gone.
The organization will be holding their 5th annual “Not Too Far From Home Comedy Show” on November 10 at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs. Monthly meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of every month; the meeting is next June 26 at 7 p.m. at the Halfmoon Town Hall.
To find out how you can help After the Fire, Inc visit afterthefire.org or call 518-435-4571.