Chloe Lambert, an 8-year-old former student of Family Taekwondo Center in Marble Falls, told her mother, “Mom, we have to do something,” when she found out a fire destroyed the building where she once practiced.
Her mother, Elizabeth Lambert, and others agreed, leading to at least three organized efforts to help the businesses impacted by the Oct. 4 fire that gutted much of First Street Plaza, which housed the taekwondo facility, China Kitchen, Texas Ink Slingers, Hudson Electric, Lakeside Smoke Shop and CBD, Hair Loft, and others.
Chloe and her mom are organizing a silent auction/bake sale/car wash benefit from noon to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 28 at First Baptist Church, 901 La Ventana Drive.
“(Chloe) wanted to do something for the community, the taekwondo center, China Kitchen, and all those businesses that now have to re-figure it out and start from the bottom up,” Elizabeth Lambert said. “She’s the one that planted the seed in my head. ‘Mom, we have to do something,’ were her words. I dropped her off at school, and it just clicked that we needed to do this.”
The nonprofit Highland Lakes Crisis Network, made up of local churches, established a displaced employee fund that will directly benefit those who lost their workplace in the blaze.
“We don’t even know all of the details and what ripples the fire may have for people and their families, so we just want to be ready to respond to those (ripples) as they come up,” said HLCN Executive Director Kevin Naumann. “We just want to provide an opportunity for people to give funding and then also provide an opportunity for those who may have been impacted to have a resource with community support.”
Naumann said crises such as the fire are precisely why the Crisis Network organization exists.
“Anytime something major happens in the area, we want to be able to leverage people in the community who love each other to help each other out and support where it’s needed,” he said.
Employees displaced by the fire may call 325-423-3662 to receive assistance. Donations can be made online or by mailing a check to 1000 Ridge Point Drive, Marble Falls, TX 78654, with the memo line “1st Street Fires.”
“If we need to come pick (the donation) up, we’ll do that, too,” Naumann said. “We’ll do whatever we need to do to help.”
A GoFundMe donation webpage has been set up to support Family Taekwondo Center. At the time of this story’s publication, the page had raised over $12,000 to help the local business.
“For the immediate time being I need to cover payroll for my staff for the work they’ve done this week, as well as living expenses now that my source of income is gone, temporarily,” Family Taekwondo Center owner Kelly Lee wrote on the page.
Proceeds from the HLCN fundraiser and the Oct. 28 benefit at First Baptist-Marble Falls will be divided among each business impacted by the fire.
“I’m really hoping the community can come together and show love to those businesses because they’ve all been there for us, so we need to be there for them,” Lambert said.