Published in the October 26, 2018 edition

WAKEFIELD — The Savings Bank and the Wakefield Co-operative Bank have joined together to collect monetary donations to help support the First Baptist Church following the devastating fire that destroyed the church on Tuesday, October 23.

The two banks are also collecting monetary donations and gift cards to purchase supplies and other necessities for the Tall Spire Preschool which was housed in the church.

A joint fund has been established at both banks, and donations can be made at any of The Savings Bank branches in Wakefield, Lynnfield, North Reading, Andover and Methuen, and at the Wakefield Co-operative Bank branches in Wakefield and Lynnfield. The loss of the nearly 150-year-old church was estimated to be at least $1 million.

Checks made payable to the “First Baptist Fire Relief Fund” and/or to the “Tall Spire Preschool Fund” can also be mailed to the funds, c/o either The Savings Bank, 357 Main St., Wakefield, MA 01880 or c/o the Wakefield Co-operative Bank, 342 Main St., Wakefield, MA 01880.

Gift cards may be brought to any of the respective branches of either bank. Suggestions for gift cards include Amazon, Target, Michaels, and Barnes and Noble to purchase much-needed supplies such as crayons, books, paper, pencils, craft supplies and paper towels.

In addition to assisting the school in rebuilding, The Savings Bank is working with school officials and the community to find a temporary location to enable the school to re-open as soon as possible.

“We are mourning the loss of this Wakefield landmark with the rest of the community,” Bob DiBella, President of The Savings Bank said. “Our hearts go out to the First Baptist Church congregation and to all of the teachers and students at the Tall Spire Preschool. We also express our sincere thanks to the firefighters and first responders who worked hard to battle the blaze and provide essential services throughout the night and during the following days.”

The Savings Bank branches are located in Wakefield at 357 Main Street, 599 North Avenue and 907 Main Street; in Lynnfield at 584 Main Street and 1105 Summer Street; in North Reading at 6 Washington Street; in Andover at 84 Main Street; and in Methuen at 17 Burnham Road.

The Wakefield Co-operative Bank branches are located in Wakefield at 342 Main Street and in Lynnfield at 596 Main Street.