LETTER: How to Help Victims of Natick Fire
A recent fire has left one Natick family living in a local motel. Here is how you can help.
Hello Friends and Neighbors,
Between the devastation left by Superstorm Sandy, the intensity of the coverage pertaining to the national, state and local elections and other pressing issues to many to count, you may or may not be aware of a very local situation of our own which took place last week in our neighborhood and is still unfolding as of today.
This situation involves a serious house fire at 3 Franklin Street in which one of our neighbors, Laura Kajkut, heard the cries for help coming from the upstairs apartment and bravely came to the aid of Gabriela Gonzalez (15 yrs old) while her mother (Mariam) and younger brother (Jonathan 11 yrs old) had stepped out for a short while.
You are welcome to review the internet links attached below from the various news outlets (or Google search), but the fact that Gabriela survived and is well on her way to recovery after being released from the hospital yesterday and that Laura was willing and able to jump into action is good fortune that simply can’t be understated.
One other aspect of this situation that is more of a secondary level of concern because everyone is alive and well, but is very pressing at the current time is the aftermath and devastation that this family was been left to deal with.
As many have asked, this fire was started by a simple mishap with a candle, and while it is true that the main damage from “fire” was contained the Gabriela’s bedroom (thanks to quick work by Natick FD) it was completely burnt out and the damage to the other rooms by the heat and smoke is almost just as stunning.
Myself along with a couple of neighbors/friends (thank s Joe & Jay) and a couple of Gabriela’s Natick HS classmates (bravo Hugo & Brendan) spent a good part of this past long weekend assisting Marium sort through the debris and take what could be salvaged to a local storage facility - it does not come close to filling the 10’x20’ space.
This family lost almost all their personal possessions. We were able to find some family albums, important documents, etc that we were able to clean up, but most items were damaged/destroyed (clothes, food, furniture, electronics, school items,etc) are gone.
As of today, Mariam and the kids are staying at a local motel and although several kind hearted people and groups have stepped forward to offer assistance, there is a very long way to go.
If you don’t know Marium, she is a single mother, who most of the time juggle two jobs along with dealing with a heart issue (inserted mechanical heart valve) that requires constant maintenance and attention. Gabriela is a freshman at NHS and Jonathan just started school as a 5th grader in the Wilson School. These are two good kids, who are doing their best to deal with this situation and hope to get back to some sort of normalcy in the near future.
The family is currently faced with several heavy height financial issues in just getting bye day to day, as well as attempting to find a new place to call home that will hopefully keep the kids in their same schools and preferably in our walnut flats neighborhood if at all possible.
**How you can help**
-Spread the word – please pass along this email and/or contact people you think might be willing to offer assistance
-If you are aware of a local 2-3 bedroom apartment that is reasonably priced and might be available, please email Marium (firstname.lastname@example.org) with details ASAP.
-If you have knowledge of other groups that might be available to offer assistance, please email Marium as well.
Ways to Donate:
Although people have offered to donate clothes, furniture and basic household items, at this point there is simply not enough storage space and time to store and sort through these type of items. Once a new place to live is secured, we can re-visit these types of items with more specific details;
In the short term, a Cash Donation followed by Gift Cards would provide the family the quickest and most flexible route in addressing their immediate needs such as food, shelter and funds to assist in securing a new place to live.
“Gabriela & Family Fire Fund” at Sovereign Bank offers 3 ways to donate funds:
1.Visit any Sovereign Bank Branch (Natick address below) and ask to make a deposit to “Gabriela & Family Fire Fund” and include account #2107367418
2. Wire or transfer funds to “Gabriela & Family Fire Fund” and include Acct #2107367418 & Routing #231372691
3. U.S. Mail to:
Gabriela & Family Fire Fund
c/o Sovereign Bank
69 East Central St.
Natick, MA 01760
**Please include Acct#2107367418 on check
Gift Cards for Basic Needs for Family
Gift cards can be donated through the local group “Natick Neighborhood Brigade” led by Jill Kovatis (email@example.com) Gift Cards can be dropped of at the Neighbor Brigade Box located at 14 Pauline Drive in Natick. Jill will be sure that the cards are promptly passed along to the family.
Gift cards in any denomination would be appreciated for:
- General items (Wal-Mart, Target, etc)
- Food (Stop & Shop, Roche Bros, etc)
- Clothes (TJ Max, Marshalls, Bobs Stores, Old Navy, etc)
- Gasoline (Hess, Mobil, etc)
We have pulled together in the past and we fully expect to pull together again to help out this family in need.