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The Independent December 19, 2013 : Page 1

See our second section inside this issue for community Christmas Greetings Vol. 1, Issue 16 Free of Charge ~ Read and Enjoy! Thursday, December 19, 2013 19, Thursday , December Special Section to The Independent 2013 Heather Wright Photo FACES OF CHRISTMAS Josiah Berwick, 5, Cameron MacFarlane, 5, and Gabe Hanley, 4, seemed to reflect all the moods of Christmas during Ecole Hillcrest’s Christmas concert. The junior grades present the concert each year and at this time, the boys were part of the classes singing Little Drummer Boy. ‘It shows communities still stand together’: Blevins Heather Wrigh t The Independent Every time Brian Blevins picks up the phone, it is someone else who wants to help. The Petrolia man and his family were left homeless after fire heavily damaged their Eureka Street home Dec. 7. The family, which includes four children under the age of seven, got a call from the OPP that their house was in flames while they watched the Santa Claus parade. The Blevins went to live in Sarnia with friends from Temple Baptist Church that night. Since word got out about their plight, offers of help and donations have been pouring in. Piles of clothing, household goods, toys and furniture came in from people in the community within a matter of days. In Petrolia, Councilor Joel Field says there were so many donations at town hall and the Oil Heritage District Community Centre they had to be placed in storage. Blevins and his family were in Petrolia yesterday to take a look at what has been donated and he was overwhelmed. “It was great to bring the kids to the community centre and show them the love people have for us,” Blevins told The Independent. “It was great to hear them laugh and smile and just be kids for a while, not to worry about anything else and just to have fun. That was a true blessing.” The family has found a house in Sarnia which they can rent on a monthly basis until they figure out whether their Eureka Street home can be rebuilt. So far insurance adjusters are still assessing the damage. Blevins hasn’t been back into the building except for one brief look on the day of the fire. SEE BLEVINS PG 2 Hundreds receiving their Christmas cheer Heather Wright The Independent Santa would be proud. Hundreds of volunteers are fanning out across Petrolia and Lambton County today (Dec. 19) handing out food and toys to make sure there is Christmas For Everyone. Over the last few months Sandra Hartman of the Petrolia Food Bank and her volunteers have been buying, gathering, and sorting food and toys for over 400 people in the area who otherwise would go without anything special in the time of celebration. Hartman and her volunteers spent many hours getting toy bags ready for delivery, including for an unusually high number of young children – nearly 35 at the last estimate. Barbies, blocks, puzzles and craft kits were piled high in Christmas For Everyone’s staging area until early this week when giant red bags are filled for local firefighters to deliver. While most of the people in need have contacted Lambton County Social Services and the food bank, Hartman says a few people were still calling in last week to see if they could be included. “There have been a lot of late applications this year,” says Hartman “more so this year than ever. “They say they didn’t think they would need it or they just got laid off.” The last few days of the Christmas for Everyone are hectic, says Hartman. SEE FOOD BOXES PG 2 2009 Buick Allure Super $ 4219 Oil Heritage Road, Petrolia 101,000 kms Feature of the week... $14,900 519-882-1090 • 1-855-864-4962 11,900 -Clean Car Proof -Certified Pre-owned -30 day or 5,000 km Warranty -150 Multi-point Inspection -3 30 Day Exchange P Program

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