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Bridgetown Fire Department helps children whom have lost their toys due to fire

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Capt. Mark Babb spearheads the drive to collect donations for the children.

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Two 8-year-olds help victims of house fire replace their lost toys

By Lesley Young
youngl@desotoappeal.com

July 14, 2003

Around Christmas last year, second-graders Gennifer DeLille and Anna Massongill wanted to do something Christ-like for the holiday.

So they decided to make bookmarks to sell for 50 cents and donate the proceeds to children who lost their toys in a fire.

About a month ago Tyler Freeman, 6, and Breana Gordon, 4, lost everything they had when their house burned down in Lake Cormorant.

Anna and Gennifer met Tyler and Breana for the first time Sunday.

With the help of the Bridgetown and Eudora Fire Departments and Wal-Mart, the two 8-year-old girls were able to present Breana and Tyler, along with their parents, a Wal-Mart gift card for $200.

"We wanted to help people," Anna said.

"We want them to have some toys," Gennifer added.

And that's exactly what they did.

"Look! Barbie! Barbie! Barbie!" Breana shouted as she walked down the aisle of pink at Wal-Mart in Southaven. "It's my favorite color."

Breana lost all of her Barbies and Power Puff Girls coloring books and pink dresses when Tyler's match-lighting accident got out of hand the morning of June 2.

"His babysitter had taught him a match trick," said Tyler's mother, Jennifer Freeman, 23. "We had no shoes on when we left the house."

Only a couple of pairs of Levi's and some T-shirts were salvaged.

"It was just drywall and two-by-fours," said Breana's dad, Philip Gordon, 42. "Now I'm a firm believer in renter's insurance. We didn't have it before. We lost everything."

But thanks to the beneficence of the two girls, things are looking up.

"This is unreal. I don't even know them, and they want to help me out," said Philip Gordon, as he added a pink purse to his shopping cart.

Since the youngsters began creating the bookmarks in December, fire departments across the county have pitched in matching funds and collected donations for "The Gennifer and Anna Toy Fund." Money is still being accepted at local fire stations.

And as far as Anna and Gennifer are concerned, their benevolence isn't over. They'll start right back up when school starts.

"We don't want people to feel like they have to live on the streets," Gennifer said.

If you would like to help please contact the Bridgetown Fire Dept on our contact page