WASHINGTON (KDKA) – Earlier this week, a devastating fire badly damaged a homeless shelter and put the good work they do for the less fortunate on hold.

Today, the community is rallying around the Washington County mission to help it get back on its feet.

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“I have to tell you, we literally had tears in our eyes when we see the generosity in the community responding to the mission’s emergency. It is truly amazing to us,” Washington City Mission Director of Development Dr. Sally Mounts said.

Cricket Wireless is the latest to step up to the plate by hosting a disaster relief drive.

Items like kitchen utensils, bottled water, boxed lunches and monetary donations are being taken at the Cricket office on Main Street and at the Washington County Courthouse.

“Part of the culture here is to get involved in the community. So, if we have the opportunity to help with the disaster relief, we are going to help in the community,” Cricket Wireless’ Heather Omahme said.

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Donations will be accepted all afternoon.

“This is a great community I feel bad about what happened to everybody and a lot of these people are our customers so we have to help anyway we can,” Kelly Faure said.

The early Tuesday morning fire destroyed the kitchen and dining area of the mission, forcing more than 60 people out of the shelter.

The fire means no shelter at the mission or meals prepared there.

“Right now, the Red Cross has loaned us cots,” Dr. Mounts said. “Area churches and organizations have been preparing meals and providing them to us.”

It could be six months or longer before the mission can provide meals or shelter.

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