Prayer Luncheon Planned To Help Berlin Fire Victims

BERLIN – A prayer luncheon to benefit the three families affected by a fire on Bay Street early this month has been set for May 2.

La’Reka Marshall, a Berlin native and founder of Soulful Gospel Events, will host a luncheon at Berlin Intermediate School next Saturday to benefit the families displaced by an April 3 townhouse fire. Attendees are each asked to bring a donation, whether it’s money or a household item to replace those damaged by the fire.

“This was laid on my heart to do,” Marshall said. “I just wanted to be able to assist.”

A fire on April 3 forced Berlin resident Dikesha Johnson and her two daughters to leave their home. The adjoining homes of her neighbors, Maria Briddell and London Bailey and Bryauna Menafee, were also damaged. Though repairs are underway, Johnson and her children have lost all of their belongings, according to Marshall. Much of what the neighbors own has suffered smoke damage.

Briddell says her living room, which shares a wall with Johnson’s home, has been damaged by water and smoke. She’s staying with her daughter while repairs are made to all three of the townhouse units.

“They don’t know when I’ll be able to go back,” she said.

Briddell, who has lived there for more than a decade, says she was touched to hear that Marshall would be hosting a fundraiser to help the affected families purchase new furniture and other household items.

“This is a big help,” she said. “I was so happy.”

This will be Marshall’s second event in Berlin. In December, she hosted a prayer breakfast for Tynise Bowen, the Berlin woman whose son Tymeir Dennis died after being struck by a Maryland State Trooper while crossing Route 113. Marshall said the community came out to support that event and she hopes residents will do the same this time.

“I’m just trying to help all of the families,” she said. “I can’t do everything though I need the help of the community.”

The luncheon, which will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 2, will be catered by Marshall’s company, 123 Easy Catering, and will feature a praise dancer and gospel singers. Speakers include Minister Mathew Chapman and Evangelist Frank Gibbs.

Those interested in attending or making a donation can contact Marshall at 302-233-6160 or by emailing [email protected].

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.