Donations will be collected at Western Carolina University’s home men’s basketball game in Ramsey Regional Activity Center at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, to assist people who lost their jobs at three Cullowhee businesses that closed after a November fire.
No one was injured in the Nov. 21 blaze that damaged the building that was home to Subway of Cullowhee, Rolling Stone Burrito and the Mad Batter Bakery and Café, but the building and businesses had to close, which directly affected more than two dozen employees.
Volunteers from WCU’s Center for Service Learning in partnership with Cullowhee United Methodist Church will collect cash and check donations before and during the first half of WCU’s game against Davidson. Doors open at 6 p.m., and tipoff is at 7 p.m.
“Every day there are opportunities to give back to the community,” said Lane Perry, director of the Center for Service Learning. “This is a chance for us to lend a hand and meet a true need. The businesses of the Cullowhee strip and the employees and owners who make them what they are have influenced us in so many ways. Here is an opportunity for the WCU/Cullowhee community to let them know.”
Donations collected at the game will be dispersed by Cullowhee United Methodist Church to assist people who lost their jobs as a result of the fire.
The basketball game is a “White-Out Night,” in which all fans are encouraged to wear white, and also features special activities in celebration of WCU’s 125th anniversary.
For those who wish to give but cannot attend the basketball game, donations will be accepted by the WCU Wesley Foundation at CUMC through Thursday, Jan. 30. To make a donation via PayPal, go to wcuwesley.com, click “donate” and put “Cullowhee Fire” in the message section. To donate by mail, send a check with “Cullowhee Fire” in the memo line to CUMC, P.O. Box, 1267, Cullowhee, N.C. 28723.
The fire-damaged building, owned by the WCU Endowment Fund, is located in a commercial strip near the center of campus. University officials have not yet made a decision about the future of the structure. The university has engaged outside architects and engineers to evaluate the damage and provide cost replacement and/or repair estimates, as well as any required building code upgrades. These cost estimates must be provided to the N.C. Department of Insurance in connection with its valuation of the claim, and will be integral to the university’s evaluation of options.