SHAMOKIN - A fundraising effort organized by Northumberland County Commissioner Chairman Vinny Clausi has raised $18,601 that will be used to help children in the Dissinger family.

A committee has been formed and a bank account is being established so the money can be issued toward needs of the children over time, Clausi said.

Clausi and those he asked to serve as members of the committee - Beth Eby and Fran Jones, of Coal Township, and Colleen Fessler, of Mount Carmel Township - met at The News-Item Friday morning. Clausi turned the money over for deposit at that time.

Daniel Gage Dissinger, 13, Gavin Arthur Dissinger, 7, and Arthur Willis Dissinger, 2, were killed in a fire April 4 at their home near Snydertown. The cause has been ruled undetermined.

Kristin Dissinger, 14, and her 10-year-old brother, Ryan, jumped out a window and ran to a neighbor's house, and another sibling, Angel Dissinger, 4, was staying with a family friend that night. The mother of the six children, Christine A. (Hontz) Dissinger, was working at the time. Her husband, Arthur W. Dissinger, the father of all the children except the 2 year old, died in 2010.

Clausi launched the fundraising effort with his own contribution of $10,000, part of which paid for funeral expenses. Another $5,500, including single contributions of $2,500 and $1,000, was raised by friends and family of the commissioner.

Shamokin and Coal Township officials gave permission for fire company volunteers to raise money with a door-to-door effort in those communities April 15 and 16. They raised another $3,101.

The committee hopes to arrange a meeting with Christine Dissinger in the near future.

The commissioner said he was touched by a story relayed by the fire companies of a young boy who came out with his piggy bank and shook out its contents to give toward the cause.

"I want to thank that child who emptied his piggy bank," Clausi said.