A fire destroyed possessions, but a community can help support the family

The Payton family

On October 31st, Serita Payton was at home with her family at 5002 Illinois Avenue when they smelled smoke. She rushed her kids and her mother outside, and watched helpless as a fire destroyed the home she rented, and killed their two cats which they were unable to rescue. Now her family is living in a hotel as they look to rebuild their possessions, and feel blessed they have each other and that no one was hurt.

Serita lived on Illinois Ave for more than two years years with her mother and three children, Deseri, Adriona and Zion, ages 11, 10 and 4, students at the local Truesdell Education Campus (800 Ingraham St). Now they need help getting back on their feet and into a home.

ANC 4D Commissioner David Sheon has been leading a community-based effort to help the Payton family by asking for clothing and gift card donations. So far, the effort has gone well, and Sheon has been able to provide Serita with some clothing for herself and the children. Besides clothes and other incidentals, they also need to find a one-bedroom apartment in the area to move into, and get out of the temporary housing. They don't want to go to DC General.

To help the family, Sheon has set up a GoFundMe page for the community to provide monetary donations. If you can, consider donating to help a family recover from their loss and get back to a semblance of normalcy. Even $10 can help. 

"Thank so much for your support during this time," Serita said. "My family has lived on Illinois Ave for a little over 2 years, and the day of the fire the entire family was home. When we realized our house was on fire, we got out as quick as we could. It has been a hard couple of weeks but we are hanging on. We are looking for a one-bedroom we can rent for at least 6 months until our home is ready. I am so thankful for people's help."

If you want to make a clothing donation, they still need children's clothes. Contact Commissioner Sheon for more info.

  • The 11 year old girl is a 12-14 or possibly a 14-16
  • The 10 year old girl is a 10-12
  • The 4 year old boy is a 4T with size 10 shoes