The community in northern Niagara County is trying to help as much as it can.
The family of Jody and Judy Johnson lost their home on Chestnut Road to an explosion, which authorities was the result of a propane leak. The blast killed their 14-year-old daughter, Sarah Johnson. Another daughter, Katie, remains in critical condition in the burn unit at Erie County Medical Center.
Why People Rush In To Help?
Whether it's in Colorado or in Wilson, whenever tragedy strikes, experts say it rocks our world. That's one reason why we we feel to need to do something to help.
"We have a need to try to get things back in balance," says Sue Green, Clinical Associate Professor of Social Work and Co-Director of the Trauma Institue at UB. "There's this level to almost master and almost fix what has put us out of balance."
"One of the biggest reasons is we tend to see our own vulnerability in that moment, and we want to do something to gain control again, and reaching out to other people is one way of doing that," says Tara Hughes, New York Disaster Mental Health Adviser for the American Red Cross. It's also a reason why our hearts broke when James Holmes allegedly opened fire at a movie theater in Colorado. "We all go to the movies, so we're close to that emotionally, so we tend to feel we are a bit more connected to humanity at that moment, and help as much as we can."
When it comes to donations, Green says even a little is a lot. "It allows us to feel connected to the solution that's in front of us," notes Green. Hughes adds, "When we do give, we are giving of ourselves but that is put together with everything given by ev1
Sue Martin lives in Youngstown, but has family living in Wilson. She says she's never seen a small town come together to help a family the way Wilson has. She noted the Ransomville Fire Department is having an event that includes a 50-50 raffle and will donate the proceeds from that raffle to the Johnson family.
"I took clothing over ... Right now, they're mainly asking for gift cards and cash," Martin says.
WBEN caught up with Martin as she was finishing up some grocery shopping at the Lakeside IGA in Wilson.
She also mentioned the nearby Amy Lee's hair salon in Wilson, which planned to donate the proceeds from Saturday's sales to the Johnson family fund.
Amy Cutney explains why she opted to help that way.
"Because I can make way more money for them than I could if I just donated my own money. If I do it this way ... the community gets involved and we can get quite a few people in and out," she says.
In another example in nearby Lockport, the proceeds from a routine guitar raffle at the Canal Concert Series were also donated to the Johnson family.
The general public can also donate to the family through area locations of First Niagara Bank.
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Rev. William Lowery, Ransomville Free Methodist Church