Fund started to help victims of Kennett Sq. NYE fire


A tragic fire on New Year’s Eve left a Kennett Square family homeless and without even the basic necessities. The community is coming together to help this family restart its life.

KENNETT SQUARE — A New Year’s Eve fire left Shanté Maxwell’s family shaken and displaced, but the greater Kennett community is coming together to help them put their lives back together.

A fund has been established to help the Maxwell family — and many groups in the Kennett area are stepping up to help out.

The fire — only a few blocks away and about 90 minutes before the annual Mushroom Drop — left the Linton Street family devastated, but thankful to have escaped.

“I felt blessed that everyone was able to get out,” Maxwell says.

The family’s home and possessions are nearly a total loss, though, and Shante’s three children and fiancé are scattered, staying with various relatives. Two of the family’s cats died in the fire, and the third is missing.

“My children loved their animals,” Maxwell says, sadly. “I just really want my family back together.”

Maxwell is grateful for strong community support.

“The Fire Company got to the house very quick, and some neighbors provided me with blankets to keep warm while I was watching our home burn. I am very thankful to them, and to our neighbors on Broad Street who gave coats and gift cards to my children,” she says.

The Red Cross generously housed the family in a hotel until last Monday, but that benefit has run out.

“Everything I had is gone – my kids’ Christmas presents, our money, even my ID. We have nothing to start over with,” she said.

Maxwell said she and her family want to continue living in Kennett.

Theresa Bass, the president of the Joseph & Sarah Carter Community Development Corporation, is worried about daughter Jalayshia’s progress at Kennett Middle School.

“She’s doing so well in school, and she’s a very strong youth leader in our neighborhood. We need to do all we can to help.” Bass adds, “I hate to think that this could be a set-back, especially when so many folks care so much in our community.”

Donations to assist Shanté, Jermaine, Jalayshia (12), Jameer,(4) and Jyasia(2) can be made to the Carter CDC, PO Box 37, Kennett Square, PA 19348; please designate the “Maxwell Family Fund.” Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

The Carter CDC was founded a decade ago by members of the community to improve the quality of life in the Historic East Linden Neighborhood of Kennett Square and in surrounding communities. Police Chief and Carter CDC Board of Directors member Ed Zunino states that the organization “has managed to turn the tides on what was once a crime ridden illegal drug activity area to one of peaceful law abiding serenity and tranquility for the most part.”

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