It’s all hands on deck to get families back on their feet after last week’s massive fire in Waterbury destroyed three homes.
Nine families, including 13 children, had their lives turned upside down last week.
“I thank God everyone got out safe,” said Mildred Roscoe, who is one of 36 people who lost nearly everything last Wednesday, when her home and all of her belongings went up in flames.
On Monday, she was picking up some essentials to get by, all donated by people in the community.
"So much compassion. God bless them all really all of them,” Roscoe said.
Since last week, more than 4,000 bags of clothes and other supplies have been dropped off at the River-Baldwin Recreation Center, along with more than $7,000.
"It's a blessing that I’m able to give back to someone that is in need. Maybe someday I might need a helping hand and someone can do the same for me,” said Latisha Crutchfield, of Waterbury.
In fact, the outpouring of support has been so great, it has been a little overwhelming to the director of the rec center who says that they're actually running out of room.
"It just goes to show people are still in touch with the humanistic side of being compassionate to other people. It's phenomenal,” said Victor Cuevas, director of the River-Baldwin Recreation Center.
The generosity of others is a pick-me-up to those still trying to pick up the pieces.
On Monday evening, those affected by the fire were invited to a special dinner, and were also given the opportunity to recoup some of what they lost.
“It's important, I’m happy I’m just overwhelmed with everything,” said Charitza Santiago.
She and her three children lost their home in last week’s fire. Since then they have been staying with friends, and she hasn’t been able to return to work.
On Monday night, at the Mojo Nuevo Latino Cuisine, the victims got a moment of normalcy and a hot meal.
Victor Lopez, of the Hispanic Coalition, State Rep. Geraldo Reyes and restaurant owner Addy Salazar chose Monday night to give back to those who lost so much.
“This is really what Waterbury is all about, it's about our neighbors, it’s about our community,” Lopez said.
“My heart goes out to all these people, it's a pleasure to serve and we're here to serve,” Salazar said.
The more than $7,000 that was raised was distributed among the victims on Monday. While it isn’t enough to recoup what was lost, it is a start.
Organizers say they are far from finished raising money.
The Hispanic Coalition is planning a June fundraiser and planning to continue helping everyone affected by the fire find a home.
So far, just one family has found permanent housing.
If you'd like to donate to some of the victims of the fire, you're asked to call the rec center first. If you are unable to bring items there you can call Roger Sherman at 860-985-9759 or email Sherman.firstname.lastname@example.org.
As for the cause of the fire, that's still being investigated.
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