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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Support shown for family displaced by McGregor fire

by Adam Gault

An outpouring of support for a young family left homeless by a fire in McGregor has demonstrated the true meaning of the season and has shown the unparalleled community spirit within the residents of Essex County in the face of adversity.

  A fire at Naples Pizza on Walker Road in McGregor on the morning of Wednesday, December 2, has left a 37-year-old single mother, Jody Perron, and her two children, Zack (15) and Zoey (5) homeless, after it spread from the restaurant below into their apartment above the business.

  Weeks from Christmas, and days before the one of the children’s birthdays, the incident inspired Tecumseh resident Melissa Eagen, and the rest of her family, to donate their annual Christmas gift card and toy drive donations to the displaced family.

  For the past 11-years, the Eagen family had been asking friends and family who attended their annual Christmas parties to bring a toy or gift card, which they would then donate to area charities, such as Sparky’s Toy Drive.

  While forgoing this year’s party due to the ongoing pandemic, the Eagen family still collected donations from family and friends with the intent of donating to charity like they had every year, but following the fire in McGregor, decided to make a direct difference to the family who has lost their home and everything in it.

  “I’m also 37 and have little ones, so that really hit home,” Eagen said. “It meant even more to us that we were able to help her out.”

  Through their efforts, the family was able to collect around $600 in various gift cards for the family, including Amazon, Sportchek, Walmart, and Tim Hortons, along with a number of toys and gifts for the children.

  “I’m an advocate for - you give kindness, you receive kindness. You can’t expect people to treat you well, if you’re not treating other people well,” Eagen explained. “The world needs more kindness. If we can do anything, if it’s a matter of shovelling a neighbour’s driveway, or helping out someone in need right before Christmas and we have the means to do that, then there’s no reason for us not to do that, this year or any year.”  

  A GoFundMe has been set up for the family to help with the purchase of new clothes, food, furniture, and to help in establishing a new residence.

  It can be found online at


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