On Tuesday night, a benefit was held in Youngstown for the family who lost five young children in a fire earlier this month on Parkcliffe Avenue.
The goal was to sell a thousand spaghetti dinners but organizers said they know they’re going to exceed that. By the number of people who lined up to show their support, you could say the same.
If you ever wanted to see what the Youngstown community is truly about, you didn’t have to look any further than Flambeau’s Live Restaurant on Market Street on Tuesday.
Chas Kunovich said this outpouring of love and support is what the city is all about.
“We’re here for one another and when we see things like this happen, it just breaks our heart and we just want to come together, console the family in whatever way we can.”
Volunteers started serving up dinners an hour before the doors were originally set to open. The line already stretched around the restaurant and out the door.
Many there didn’t know the family, but felt the heartache of their tragic loss.
“No parent should have to go through this,” Gloria Anderson said. “This is something very, very devastating.”
Youngstown Firefighter Jason Nance and several others from the department came to the benefit.
“It was a traumatic thing for us so we need to be here as much as anybody else,” he said.
Nance said watching the community come together like it has in the last week has only helped the department heal.
“We know that the community is there for us to help us get through it, just as much as we need to help them.”
Putting together this benefit was a labor of love that no one gave a second thought to. Last week, Sheryl Kelly went to several local businesses, asking for donations. The raffle baskets at Tuesday’s spaghetti dinner were the result of her efforts.
“It’s just so heartwarming that people can show so much love and compassion,” she said.
Many fellow employees of the surviving mother, America “Amy” Acevedo, were there to show their support.
Brittany Jerrett is close to the family. She said Acevedo has been in good spirits.
“The family’s doing well. Most of them are back to work, America is ready to get back to work as soon as she’s fully healed, and it’s just incredible the amount of determination in what they’re doing and how they’re overcoming everything.”
All of the money raised will be going directly to Acevedo’s family to help with the cost of funerals and medical expenses.
There’s another benefit planned later this week. The All-Star Benefit Concert will be at the East High School Auditorium this Friday. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and doors open at 5:30. The concert is free but donations will be accepted at the door.