EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 30, 2014

Help for fire victims: The next chapter

As Haverhill continues to rally, event helps couple with young child

HAVERHILL — Whether friends, relatives or strangers, the community has joined together to help victims of the May 7 fire at the Forest Acres apartment complex.

The blaze forced 46 people from their homes, including many who lost all of their possessions.

Tomorrow, the next chapter of help for the fire victims unfolds.

The friends of one of those families — a young couple and their infant child — are hosting a benefit to help them get back on their feet.

Amanda Feind, Matt Stamos and their 8-month-old son, Liam, lost many of their possessions in the fire, which affected the residents of 18 apartments. The young family’s apartment received mostly smoke and water damage. A ceiling collapsed into their bedroom and closet, ruining all of the contents, as well as Liam’s bedroom, ruining his stuffed animals, crib and mattress, changing table, clothing and other items.

Their friend Chris Ryan decided to volunteer his skills as a show promoter and is organizing the fundraiser, which is tomorrow from 2 to 8 p.m. at the Chit Chat Lounge, 103 Washington St. This family-friendly event, open to all ages, will feature food, raffles and live music.

Meanwhile, the Haverhill Salvation Army is serving as a focal point for coordinating services to all the fire victims.

Admission to tomorrow’s event is a suggested donation of $10 at the door. All proceeds go toward helping Stamos and Feind rebuild their lives.

“To me, it was a matter of gathering bands that would appeal to everyone,” Ryan said. “I try to make my events unforgettable and enjoyable and I knew which bands would fit the theme, which is for people of all ages.”

Ryan said Chit Chat owners Steve and Debbie Doherty are providing food for the event.

“The bar will be open and the bartender said she will be donating all of her tips to the cause,” Ryan said. “Everyone involved in this event is doing it from their heart. Everyone is donating their time and talents to help Matt, Amanda and Liam.”

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