By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald
Helen Edgington has lost everything dear to her — her daughter and her home in an early morning house fire this past Thursday, and her coworkers at the Mahaska County Outreach Thrift Store are holding a benefit to help her.
Edgington’s daughter, Kathie, passed away in a fire that occurred at 3:49 a.m. this past Thursday her home at 401 N. A St. Helen also was home at the time of the blaze and was able to escape the house.
“This is a real tragedy,” said Mahaska County Outreach board member Wanda Gardner. “She is homeless and she lost her final child.”
To compound Helen’s grief, she had lost another daughter, Kim, to cancer three weeks ago, Thrift Store Manager Alice Moore said.
Helen has volunteered at the Thrift Store for more than 25 years, Gardner said. So, her coworkers are taking donations to help her.
“We started it this morning,” Moore said Friday. “Helen is not only a volunteer, she’s our friend.”
The Thrift Store has a large glass container at the checkout counter for donations.
“I’m from Fremont and we do that all the time,” Moore said in regards to the donation container. “We’ve never done this here before.”
Thrift Store staff are accepting donations of household items and money to help with Kathie’s funeral expenses. People also can mail donations to the Thrift Store at 114 N. First St., Oskaloosa IA 52577.
“We’ve had a lot of phone calls already today about her,” Moore said Friday.
Moore and the Thrift Store staff are glad to help Helen.
“She’s had it hard,” Moore said. “She’s a sweet, loving woman. She’s the type that will give you the shirt off her back.”
Gardner said that Helen is living at her granddaughter’s house.
“She lost everything. … Nothing was insured,” Gardner said.
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org