A Christmas Miracle: Community raises $12,000 for families displaced by fire

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The Dec. 7 fire at 637 and 639 Middle Neck Rd. displaced 10 people. (Photo by Michael Weinstock)

A pair of loft apartments sitting above Middle Neck Road were gutted by a blaze that broke out above Eden Farm II and Twiggs Cards and Gifts a month ago. Although nobody was hurt, by the time the flames were put out, two families, including six Great Neck students between the ages of 3 and 16, had been burnt out of their homes.

But when news of the fire’s damage hit the community, that tragic loss was matched by a massive outpouring of support, supplies and funds.

The United Parent Teacher Council (UPTC) organized a fundraiser to help the affected families get back on their feet. UPTC co-presidents Miriam Kobliner and Moji Pourmoradi set up a webpage on GoFundMe, where residents could contribute to the fundraiser, with the goal of raising $12,000 in total to be divided between the families by child.

The fundraiser reached the goal in less than a week.

“There was an outpouring from the community,” Kobliner said. “There weren’t so many people, but the people who gave were very generous. There are some very generous people around, and it’s nice to see.”

To date, the fundraiser has brought in $12,745 from 150 donors, two of whom contributed $2,000 each while electing to remain anonymous. Surplus funds from the drive will go into a UPTC account set aside for emergency situations like the fire itself down the road.
UPTC first tried its hand at this type of fundraising in 2017 when a house fire on Brokaw Lane left four families without a home, so Kobliner added that the organization knew what to do this time around.

Pourmoradi added that everybody in the organization is grateful to be able to help in a time like this.

“It’s been an unbelievable journey on this side,” Pourmoradi said. “It’s been a very positive experience for everyone involved.”

In addition to the money raised for the victims, the Great Neck Public Schools opened the district’s clothing pantry at Saddle Rock Elementary School to help clothe the students who lost their possessions in the fire.

“When word spread that a fire had displaced two Great Neck families, our community sprung into action,” Saddle Rock Elementary School Principal Luciana Bradley told the Great Neck Record in a statement. “The response, coordinated by school district staff and the UPTC, included donations of emergency gift cards and clothing for the families affected. The Great Neck Public Schools clothing pantry was able to offer warm clothing, jackets and backpacks to the students affected. The outpouring of support and the willingness of GNPS staff and the Great Neck community to help has been no less than exceptional.​”

Anybody who wants to donate to the fundraiser efforts can visit the following web address: https://www.gofundme.com/f/1u5smwtzlc

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