As the deluge of donations came rushing into the GoFundMe campaign she created, Emily Arnholt kept raising the goal. First, $10,000. Then $25,000. Then $50,000. Then $70,000.
Now, five days in, and that latter number is within reach, with $67,600 having been raised at the time of writing for the Brentwood family who recently lost their home in a devastating fire.
Arnholt is amazed at the show of support she has seen over the past week. She is hopeful she’ll have to raise the amount again.
“I think it’s incredible how much we’ve been able to raise, how much the community was able to come together for this one family,” Arnholt, a sophomore at Brentwood High School, said.
Arnholt is a classmate of Will Grisham, one of the three Grisham children who lived with their parents, Andrew and Christine, at the house on Elmington Court.
“I originally set the goal at $10,000, and I wasn’t even expecting to reach that, and I’ve raised the goal three times. It’s so insane,” Arnholt said.
A message posted today on the GoFundMe page by Christine Grisham’s sister demonstrated just what the campaign means for the family.
“My family has been devastated by our loss!!!” Laura McKelvey wrote. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of friends who have so generously donated to the restoration of my sister’s home. Thank you so much for supporting her family during this difficult time. I am so grateful they know so many kind people and appreciate everyone who has helped them in any way.”
McKelvey went on to note that the Grishams recently learned that removing the significant amount of debris from the site of the fire in order to rebuild will cost $40,000, which will not be covered by insurance.
Arnholt has talked to her classmate, Will, and said he also shared his family’s appreciation for the community’s efforts.
“They were very thankful for what everyone has done for them and the time that they took time out for their day to donate,” she said.
She also shared one bit of information that Will told her, which both of them took to be significant.
The house was a total loss. Apparently, almost everything in it was destroyed.
“One of the only things that remained left that was completely fully intact was a Bible,” Arnholt said.
The fire at the Grishams was initially suspected to have been caused by a Christmas tree.
That is no longer the case, Brentwood Fire & Rescue Chief Brian Goss said. Preliminary investigations have shown that it does not appear the fire started in the room with the Christmas tree.
“It’s very possible with the level of destruction we’ve had that we might never know the cause definitively,” he said.