Since the tragic Bainbridge Ave. fire on Oct. 31 that gutted 10 businesses and severeley damaged four others, many readers and concerned rsidents have asked how they can help.
Well, we just received this letter from Sally Dunford, a long-time Norwood resident and the executive director of West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resource Center. Her organization, is part of the Bronx Jewish Community Council which has been providing critical services to Bronxites since 1972. We wouldn't put this on the blog if we didn't know for certain that West Bronx Hosuing will make certain that the money is handled properly. Here's the letter. Please help if you can:
Dear Friends and Family:
The Good news is I'm quoted in this mornings NY Times, towards the end of this article.
The bad news is that although no one was injured in this fire, many were hurt. Fourteen stores were affected - 10 of those destroyed. All are either from the neighborhood or employed people from the neighborhood. Half did not have insurance. The City has a lot of help available to help them get the stores back up and running - if they want to relocate or once the building is torn down and rebuilt.
But there is little available to help with their immediate needs- like rent, food, etc. We are sending them to Public Assistance, but it will take a week to process and once accepted for benefits there's a another 45 day wait.
In the meantime, some of these folks have immediate needs. I'm most concerned right now about Mahmood Zagrahi, who is mentioned in the article is from Bethlehem. He is here on a Student Visa, and is a graduate student in Business. To qualify for a Student Visa he must be in school and show that he has the means to support himself. He took his family's life savings and invested it in a candy store. With those funds he is putting himself through school, so that he can help his family. With his store gone, his future is very much in jeopardy. $2,200 will allow him take one class, which will allow him to stay in school, in America, and rebuild.
If you can help please let me know. I promise that any contributions will be used only for immediate (documentable) needs that stem directly from the fire.
Checks can be made out to West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resource Center - write fire fund on the memo line.
The address is:
West Bronx Housing and Neighborhood Resource Center
3176 Bainbridge Ave
Bronx, NY 10467