Teacher inspired to help family that lost child in fire
A concerned teacher has created a benefit holiday bazaar for a family who lost its kindergartener in a fire last month.
Speech pathologist Kelly Reid organized the Friday event at Orchard Hill Elementary to benefit the family of Olivia Chapman.
More 40 vendors are scheduled to be there and will donate a portion of their proceeds to help Chapman’s family. The bazaar runs from 4 to 8 p.m. and admission is free.
Olivia Chapman, 5, died in Portland in mid-November after suffering burns over much of her body. Firefighters rescued her from an apartment fire Nov. 2 in east Medford. Chapman’s mother, Trish Ellsworth, and 3-year-old sister, Amelia, survived the blaze.
“I just wanted to do something to help her out. She’s got an adorable 3-year-old. I felt like I needed to do something,” said Reid. “To go through a major fire and to have to go up to Doernbecher (Children’s Hospital), she’s just kind of been through hell. I was afraid she was just going to be forgotten.”
Reid came up with the idea after talking with a friend about donating items the night before Thanksgiving. She had purchased some items for the mother previously.
“I’ve never done anything like this,” said Reid. “It wasn’t me. It was just a crazy person who had an idea and had lots of good friends and a community that was willing to support that dream.”
Among vendors are LuLaRoe, Mary Kay, Pampered Chief, Anatrypsis Massage Studio, DoTerra Essential Oils, Creative Memories, Party Light Candles and Gogi’s Yarn Studio. More vendors keep contacting Reid to see if they can be included.
“If we have to, we’ll move into the music room and the hallways,” Reid said. “We are a big school. We can handle this.”
Maintenance workers will put up Christmas lights, and fifth-graders will set up tables.
A former Orchard Hills teacher and friends are making 60 unicorn ornaments to be sold because Olivia loved unicorns, Reid said. There will be garden ornaments, jewelry, glassware, clothes and hand-crafted items.
Tasty Treasures food truck will provide a variety of meal options. There will also be a silent dessert auction. A raffle of donated items will include coffee, kitchen tools, a hot chocolate basket, passes to the Ashland Chocolate Festival, ski passes, gift cards, a butcher block table and more. Donations for the raffle will be accepted until 3 p.m. Friday at the school.
Two Santas and two photographers will be on hand to take Christmas pictures. A $5 donation is suggested for the photos, said Orchard Hill Office Manager Dianne Wolff.
Saint Mary’s School students will be wrapping gifts purchased at the bazaar, and Talent Middle School band students will play during the bazaar.
Reid described Olivia as a beautiful, sassy, hilarious kid. She recalled sharing wings from her own Halloween costume with Olivia. The two became the “blue tape fairies,” applying painters’ tape, sprinkling imaginary fairy dust and waving wands.
Trish Ellsworth and Amelia are now living with friends, Reid said. A GoFundMe account set up by students at St. Mary’s to help the family had raised $2,990 as of Wednesday. See www.gofundme.com/helping-child-burn-victims-in-or for more information.
Reach Ashland freelance writer Tony Boom at firstname.lastname@example.org.