Local business owners help out people displaced by Auburn apartment fire

People who lived in the apartment building can receive donations at the Grocery Outlet

After the Auburn apartment building fire displaced over 40 people on July 23, Joe and Lorie Blevins stepped up to help those in need.

The Blevins are owners of the Grocery Outlet, 102 Cross St. in Auburn. Two days after the fire, on July 25, Joe Blevins took to the Auburn Washington Community Facebook page and said people could drop off donations at the Grocery Outlet for those displaced by the fire.

“Nobody was really stepping up as a place to drop donations off, and since we’re only three blocks away, it made sense, whatever we could do to help,” Joe Blevins said.

Since making the Facebook post, they have received loads of donations of everything from clothes to first-aid kits to prepaid Visa cards, he said. Two watermelon containers in the back of the Grocery Outlet are full of donations.

“The beautiful thing about owning a Grocery Outlet is that we have the freedom to help our employees, to help our community,” Lorie Blevins said.

Anyone who was displaced by the fire is welcome to come to the Grocery Outlet and take what they need from the donation bins.

“Reach out to us, whether you want to call or just come in, send us an email, whatever. We’re going to start getting things organized so it’s easier for people to get what they need,” Lorie Blevins said.

One of the things that drew the Belvins to Auburn was the sense of community they found here, so helping those in need after the fire just seemed natural.

“It’s a big city with a small town feel,” Joe said. Lorie added: “Everyone is really caring and willing to help.”

The Blevins are looking into how they can further help those affected by the fire, whether it be through food or financial assistance.

“We’ll have to put our heads together and figure out if there’s something else we can do, financially, we’ll keep working at it” Lorie said.

Lorie and Joe Belvins are pictured in front of the donation bins in the back of their Grocery Outlet store in Auburn. The Belvins are accepting donations for people who were affected by the apartment fire in Auburn on July 23. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing