RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) – After a family-run outreach center burned down Wednesday night, the couple who runs it is looking to build back up.
The Davis family opened up the Arkansas River Valley Cherokee Church Outreach Center in 2004. Kim and Jim Davis felt the need to continue giving back when they retired.
“About 2013, we got this building here donated. When we got the building we were able to expand,” Jim said.
Jim is a retired police officer. He said the outreach center allows him to continue to help people. The center serves about two hundred families in the Russellville area.
“We’ve got people coming from Newton County, Polk County, Johnson County,” he said.
However, Wednesday night he received a devastating phone call.
"The building was involved in a fire. We got here about 12:20...it was almost to the ground at that time,” Jim said. “It is a complete loss. We had about $5,000 worth of meat. We had clothing. We had households items…dishes everything you can think of in there."
Diane said she is devastated to see all her years of hard work go away in the blink of an eye.
"It was awful to see…it's still awful to see,” she said. "Nothing to say except 'Wow, it's gone.'"
She said her and the family will not let this stop them from doing good.
"We will manage to start all over again. We started the foodbank actually out of our backyard under a tent. Helping people. We built it up from that,” she said.
The center is completely funded by Jim and his family. This fire sets them back quite a bit.
This foodbank has been a challenge for us all along because everything comes out of my pocket, and I’m disabled,” Jim said. “All I’m getting is a retirement and disability check. When you start paying electricity and everything out of it, it cuts into a retirement check pretty quick.”
Luckily, not every building on the Davis' property caught fire so they still will be able to serve people for the time being.
"We're going to be open. It may not be a whole lot but we'll be here for people that does need some stuff,” Jim said.
Even though the Davis family lost everything inside their outreach center, they still have not lost their will to give.
"We go up. That's all we can do. We're already on the bottom,” Diane said.
The Davis family said they are not sure how the building caught fire but the firefighters told them they believe it may have been electricity.
The family will have a small clothing drive December 23.
If you would like to make a donation to the Davis family to help them give back to people for Christmas, click here for their GoFundMe page.
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