The metro Racine community stepped up in record time to offer assistance to the Scott family after a fire destroyed their home and took the lives of three children.
Dayja Scott, 9; Daliya Scott, 8, died at the scene. Their brothers Michael Scott, 7, and Luther Scott, 5, were transported to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee. Michael Scott passed away Friday, but Luther Scott remains at Children’s recovering. Their mother, Deborah Scott, is staying with family when she is not at the hospital with her remaining son.
From the readers of Racine Uncovered who offered money, clothes and furniture; to Fratt School - where the children attended – collecting cash and gas cards; to local restaurant owners who want to make sure the family is fed and establish more long-term support, people opened their hearts right away.
Sarah Spranger, whose family owns Cabbage Heads Bar & Grill, 3311 Highway H in Franksville, will be having a Deer Hunters’ Widows Ball at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 and people can make a voluntary donation for the cover charge.
Her 9-year-old son, Keegan Spranger, took Dayja’s death hard because they were classmates in Mrs. Townsend’s third grade classroom. He told his mom how Dayja talked a lot and how they played together during recess. Keegan made his mom check to see if all of the smoke detectors worked in his house and had a hard time sleeping the night his teachers told him what had happened.
“As a mother, what do you say?” Sarah said. “I’m trying to help him get through this.”
He also asked his mother what he could do to help his friend’s family.
“He wanted to help. And because my family owns this bar, we thought we could take up a collection, something to help this family,” Sarah said.
The Sprangers will collect donations for Dayja’s family over this weekend and next weekend.
Davey Ferfer from Dino’s Restaurant in Racine donated food and had it delivered to the Scotts Friday while the family gathered to finalize funeral arrangements for the children.
“They’re customers of mine so whatever I can do, I’m going to do,” he told Patch on Friday.
But Ferfer didn’t just make sure the Scotts had dinner. He made sure they had enough leftovers to carry them through Saturday and maybe even into Sunday.
“This is just one less thing they have to worry about,” Ferfer added. “Anything they need, I want to be there for them.”
Brown was scheduled to attend a meeting at the San Francisco Grill on Washington Avenue Friday night to plan a fundraiser.
"It just goes to show how we're all connected," she said. "We pull together and join forces to help our neighbors."
Individuals offer help, too
“I would like to help with some donations if possible,” Kayla G. posted to the Racine Uncovered Facebook page.
And she wasn’t alone. Nearly every post associated with updates about the family included offers of help.
“I have a kitchen table to give and depending on what size the mom wears, I have clothes and shoes she can have. I don’t have money to give but will help in other anyway I can,” Christina A. wrote.
Beth David, founder of Racine Uncovered, worked with Jeanette Brown of Girls, Inc., a group to which the Scott girls belonged, to communicate with William Scott, Deborah’s brother, and pass information to the thousands of people part of the Racine Uncovered network. When someone posted how they appreciate David’s efforts, she turned the attention back to her readers.
“It's what community is about, it's what the people of Racine are about. We help each other out, no questions asked when there is a need,” she wrote.
Brown said she was not surprised at the speed at which people offered help.
"This is what we do here," she said, echoing David.
HOPE Safehouse also provided help by donating cat food, litter and a litter box for the family's two cats who made it out.
"Will told me he bathed them so now they don't smell like smoke, but it took them a day or so to start eating," Brown said.
David went to HOPE to pick up the supplies and delivered them to William Scott's home.
"They said if he needs more, they're just a phone call away," David said.
William Scott told Brown that Reid's New Golden Gate – a funeral home out of Milwaukee - and Fellowship Christian Believers Church in Racine are both donating services for the children. Still, there will be expenses for the burials and for the medical bills sure to come from the hospital and any follow-up care Luther may need.
To help defray those costs, the Scott Children Family Fund has been established at both Educator’s Credit Union and Associated Bank. Donations can be dropped off at any location.