After a Tragic Fire, Some Hope and Kindness From Kids

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WILKES-BARRE -- Earlier this month, tragedy hit the people of the Lincoln Plaza Apartment building in Wilkes-Barre.

Fire ripped through the fifth floor, leaving two women dead and displacing more than 150 residents.

Now, most of the residents are back home, though the 5th floor is still off limits.

"It has been a very difficult season for our residents, they've been, they're working hard. They want to get back to a normal life and it's a struggle,” said Judy Kosloski, executive director of Wilkes-Barre Housing Authority.

That's where the Luzerne County SHINE Program comes in.

It's an after-school program for hundreds of students.

"They are so happy to give back anything that they possibly can. It's one of their favorite things to do, said Deanna Drako, an assistant director for SHINE.

The SHINE students wanted to bring some joy to the people at Lincoln Plaza and so they spent hours making cookies and blankets.

"It was tough, but it was fun,” said Kevin Thwaites, an 8th grader from Wilkes-Barre.

Some SHINE students like first grader Kendry Thwaites even decorated cards for the residents.

“Inside, I made a rainbow for them!"

The goodies will be handed out to residents at Lincoln Plaza Friday.

“The opportunity to make something, tangible and hand it to someone in need really makes them feel good and it kind of goes along with the spirit of the season,” said Carol Nicholas, Wilkes University SHINE director.

The kids say the residents may be getting these things, but they got something back themselves.

"If you give something to someone, they give something back to you or they treat you with like respect and kindness,” said Kelisbeth Gonzalez, a Wilkes-Barre 5th grader.

"I mean it felt like really good because you're doing something for other people,” said Ingrid Thwaites, a 7th grader from the city.