PORTSMOUTH — The fire that broke out on Market Street, Saturday morning left a few people without a home. Because the fire developed quickly most were only able to exit the building with the cloths on their back.
Since the fire several people and organizations within the community went to work scheduling benefits.
In response, Main Street Portsmouth, along with a number of community partners, have organized a benefit to help those most affected by the fire.
“Main Street (Portsmouth) was at the scene Saturday and there was an outpouring of support from business owners, musicians and artists,” said Joseph Pratt, Executive Director of Main Street Portsmouth. “During all of this support Market Street Cafe provided food to everyone.”
Pratt said one of the quotes that really got to him, came from Mary Rase, one of the owners of Market Street Cafe.
“As she (Rase) was putting sandwiches together she said, ‘the only reason we’re really doing this is because there are so many people out there (on Market Street) that need a little bit of hope. It’s cold and we can’t just leave them out there.’ The electric was turned off so we (Main Street Portsmouth) went and got coffee for everyone,” Pratt said. “The building owners are out there assessing the buildings, but the fire left two families with nothing.”
He said those who resided in the apartments were active members of the community and were active participants of many events.
“We’re not the Red Cross, we don’t typically do stuff like this, but they (displaced residents) are in the district we serve. We really wanted to do something to help,” Pratt said.
Main Street Portsmouth has partnered Robert Black, Director of the Boneyfiddle Project to make the benefit a success.
“The Boneyfiddle Project is proud to join forces with Main Street Portsmouth to support those who lost so much in the Market Street fire. Music, friends, fellowship and caring. It’s what makes us a close community,” Black said in a released comment.
Pratt said the benefit will correspond with the Ellen Vetter Chocolate Walk on Saturday, Feb. 6.
“We decided to have a concert downtown and we already have the bands lined up. We’re looking at hosting them on the lot on Second Street after Journey Within. If for some reason the ground is wet and we can’t get in there, we’re filing permits today to block off a section of Court Street,” Pratt said.
As a part of the day people will be able take part in the Chocolate Walk, listen to local music and make donations.
“All of the funds will go into an account at American Savings Bank called The Boneyfiddle Family Fund,” Pratt said. “If someone wants to make a donation and can’t come to the event, they can contact the bank to make a donation.”
There will also be a giving board at the event. Items needed by the displaced families will be placed on the board. If someone thinks they can meet that need, they can take the paper off the board with the families contact information on the back.
The Chocolate Walk will take place from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and the benefit will take place from Noon-5 p.m.
Some of the local performers include The Whisman Clan, Steve Free, Ian Jones, Moon Travelers, Jason Burton and Deacon Ron.
Tickets for the Chocolate Walk are five dollars and can be purchased at the Main Street Portsmouth Office inside the Scioto County Welcome Center, the Sweet Boutique on Chillicothe Street, at Morgan Brothers Jewelers, Ghosts in the Attic, Remember When Antiques and Market Street Hardware.
Tickets for the event are pre-sold if all of the tickets are not sold they will be made available at Port City Pub the day of the event. Funds raised from the Chocolate Walk will help Main Street Portsmouth fund various programs and activities throughout the year.
There has also been a benefit scheduled for Feb. 2 at Frank n Steins starting at 9 p.m. with the bands, Pike/Jackson County Crew, KaciandJoey, Mothman Blues Review, Jason Whisman and Nathan Marshall.
Frank n Steins is located at 707 Chillicothe Street in Portsmouth.
For more information about the programs and activities of Main Street Portsmouth find them on Facebook or visit www.mspohio.org.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT