West Philadelphia church provides relief for Overbrook fire victims

Dozens of residents at Overbrook Gardens were left with little but the clothes on their backs after a massive five-alarm fire tore through their homes on Dec. 10.

Since then, Overbrook and the surrounding communities have rallied around those displaced by the fire with an outpouring of relief efforts.

Emmanuel Church Christian Center, located on 5900 block of Chestnut Street, was on the front lines to provide aid right after news of the fire spread.

Pastor William Brownlee and his church acted quickly by partnering with the Red Cross. Browlee reached out to his 200-member congregation, local police, and other churches for donations.

Brownlee soon found an army of volunteers in the basement of his church ready to sort through piles of contributions.

READ MORE: Dozens remain displace after Overbrook apartment fire

While most fire victims will not be coming to accept donations until next week, volunteer Jacqueline Williams has already met a few grateful survivors.

"Just to see a smile on their face, it does something for us and to me as well," said Williams.

Emmanuel Christian has only been around for a few years, but the volunteer work they are spearheading is a good way to make friends in a hurry.

"The message we are trying to send is love thy neighbor as we love ourselves," said Brownlee. "Love starts with action."