DEKALB COUNTY, Ga — A community has come together to help families who lost everything in an apartment fire at the start of the new year.
Families displaced or experiencing hardship by the Jan. 3 Avondale Forest Apartment fire were invited to Avondale First Baptist Church on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. families were able to take what they needed from the many donations contributed by people from metro Atlanta.
Photos: Avondale Frist Baptist Church gathers donations, money for fire victims
The Avondale Estates community began collecting items to assist the families and the outpouring of donations exceeded all expectations, according to organizers. Items included clothes, housewares, blankets, baby items, toiletries, and more.
11Alive's Joe Henke was there as people tried to move past the terrifying moments captured in a heart-stopping video.
Organizers behind the effort to gather donations say they've been blown away by the overwhelming response.
"We had families coming down from John's Creek and Alpharetta, we had people coming up from Jonesboro and that is when things really exploded," said Patti Ghezzi. "We had a caravan of pick-up trucks coming to my house and bringing all of this stuff to the church."
In addition to the material items, organizers said thousands of dollars, some meant to cover hotel expenses, were also raised. It will be distributed to the families displaced by the fire.
Eight children were among the 12 people who were injured at the DeKalb County complex and about 20 units were impacted by the fire.
Following the fire, the Red Cross was assisting the 79 people displaced.