Suffolk volunteers step up to help displaced residents

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Paula Nielsen and her cat Isabelle are sharing a small motel room in Suffolk. There are mid-morning snacks in the lobby, and the Super 8 is just down the street from Nielsen’s apartment, which went up in smoke last weekend.

A fire tore through the Suffolk Towers Nov. 23, which displaced dozens of people a couple of days before Thanksgiving. Yet even though some are stuck without homes over the holidays, they said through the kindness of management and others, things are looking up.

“We’ve had food delivers here,” said Nielsen. “Everything’s been going a lot better than what we assumed. So everything’s been going good. We’re going to have a happy Thanksgiving. Everybody’s going to eat.”

Crews are working to repair three electrical panel boxes that have to be fixed before anyone can move back in. To help these people deal with the temporary homelessness, volunteers across the community have stepped up. St. Paul’s Episcopal has provided daily meals to more than a dozen people at the motel.

“Those 15 were left with nothing,” said Kitty Quillin, a volunteer with St. Paul’s Episcopal. “Here it is right at Thanksgiving – no place to stay, no food, no transportation. It was just an act of kindness we needed to do.”

The Fire Marshal’s Office confirmed the fire was accidental and caused by an electrical malfunction.

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