Fifteen families lost everything in the apartment fire Monday night at the Las Cascadas apartments on Skillman in Lake Highlands, and several have kids attending LH-area schools. Once it was determined that everyone was safe, the LH network of caregivers jumped into help mode.

Arms of Hope, an outreach ministry located at Highland Oaks Church of Christ, has been working with their contacts at Thurgood Marshall Elementary, LH Junior High and Lake Highlands High School to determine the needs of the families. Since the residents ran out with the just the clothes on their backs, describing their needs has been simple: everything.

In addition to the basics, like school clothes and underwear, the kids, of course, have Christmas around the corner. The Allen-Gaston family, with boys aged 9 and 4, shared that the older boy loves educational toys, like telescopes, puzzles and anything related to animals or the Discovery channel. The little one loves to color and paint and is all about Spiderman and playing with cars. The family is living with the husband’s mom in Mesquite until they can resettle.

If you’d like to help the Allen-Gaston family or any of the others in need, Arms of Hope would be grateful to hear from you. You can contact Josie Lemell at Arms of Hope at 214-356-0078 or