When a fire tragically destroyed 14 units at the Tiffany Square Apartments at 935 Sheridan Blvd. in Lakewood on Oct. 31, emergency crews leapt into action to save residents. Tragically, Katie Payton and her 10-year-old daughter, Jazmine Aguayo, were killed. In addition, 32 residents were evacuated and displaced. Katie, Jazmine — and all of the residents who were injured — are in our thoughts and prayers.
The Red Cross reached out to Father Joe McLagan at St. Bernadette Catholic Parish in Lakewood within hours and asked the parish to provide emergency shelter for anyone in need. Father McLagan immediately agreed, and a dozen displaced residents headed to the parish to take shelter in the church’s basement.
“Since we are the closest parish to the apartment building, we were eager to help our neighbors who faced tragedy and this unexpected loss,” said Father McLagan. “As Jesus says in Luke 6:30, ‘Give to everyone who asks of you.’ Our parishioners and our entire community were pleased to come together to help these families who have lost so much.”
Father McLagan reached out to Catholic Charities to ask if they would be willing to assist with dinners while people were staying at St. Bernadette. As always, the Catholic Charities’ food services team, based out of Samaritan House downtown, immediately agreed and jumped into action. The team provided dinners to displaced residents and to volunteers at the parish. The team continued to provide meals until everyone found a place to stay on Friday.
“We are eager and stand ready to help where we can,” said Mark Hahn, who coordinated the Catholic Charities team effort. “Our amazing team always leans into our mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to those in need. We were honored to be able to help these residents until they could find a safe place to stay.”