Funds raised for local family devastated by fire

Posted at 5:52 PM, Feb 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-12 20:54:03-05

SHEBOYGAN -- The community's coming together to help a family that lost three children in a house fire.

A big fundraiser was held at Sheboygan North High School Friday to benefit the Maki family. A few at the event know the Maki family, but most did not. That didn't stop them from all coming together to share a brat and a burger in their name.

It was a well organized operation, feeding a lunch crowd. Touched by the tragic story at this Sheboygan Falls home, staff decided to hold a brat fry and call it "Ray of Hope."

The response was overwhelming. Businesses sent a thousand burgers, 3,000 brats, balloons and flowers, and students made tasty treats.

"One day we did 15 dozen chocolate chip cookies, and then a group came down and did about 100 rice crispy bars and we had everything individually wrapped and it's all sold," said Mary Denning, Special Ed teacher at North High School.

Chris and Kristi Maki were at bible study when their home caught fire last month, killing seven-year-old Carter Maki, 10-year-old Ben Martin, and 11-year-old Natalie Martin.

"And being a mom of five, you know, it's just like, I can't imagine," said Lori Telschow, event organizer and English teacher at North High School.

Natalie's the hero, who rescued her nine year old sister Jenna, but died trying to save her brothers. Classmates at Farnsworth Middle School miss her.

"She was nice and she was a sweetheart," said Marshay Lucious, 6th grader.

Natalie's classmates got a ride to the brat fry, because they too wanted to help.

"I hope they think it's good and stuff so we can raise a lot of money for her family," said Jordan Dean, 6th grader.

The Maki's did not attend Friday's fundraiser. Organizers hope that they see all of this and feel the love that the community has for them.

The community has raised an additional $141,000 through a GoFundMe account.