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Van Nest helps fire victims

Bronx Times

A local neighborhood group is being a good neighbor by reaching out to help several families who lost just about all their possessions after a recent multi-alarm fire.

The Van Nest Neighborhood Association has collected clothes, toys, and toiletries for about 12 families burned out of their apartments after a fire ripped through 726 Van Nest Avenue and surrounding buildings on Saturday, April 14.

It accepted donations on Saturday, April 21, as well as Monday, April 23 through Wednesday, April 25 at the former St. Dominic’s school gym and also at Our Lady of Solace-St. Dominic’s church rectory, said Van Nest Neighborhood Association vice president Bernadette Ferrara.

“This is what community is all about. You lead by example,” said Ferrara.

“Communities should step in and help when something happens within their boundaries” she added. “I know we can help. Hopefully the families will reap some benefits from this collection.”

Local 49th Precinct Community Affairs officer Victor DiPierro said he collected about 20 bags of supplies for the fire victims from his family and neighbors in Country Club.

“We have collected assorted clothes, toiletries, linens, sheets, spreads, children’s clothes, adults clothes, as well as toys - even a couple of razor scooters,” DiPierro said. “I cannot even imagine what these poor people are going through, and what it would be like to lose everything except the clothes on your back.”

The alliance has collected the names and telephone numbers of eight of the twelve families that have been burned out of their homes, and will distribute what is collected when it is sorted through, said VNNA member Kathleen Canzoniero.

“Bernandette and I will be sorting the clothes by size and gender later this week,” Canzoniero said. “When everything is sorted, we will invite the families in one-by-one and have them select what they need.”

The gym at what had been St. Dominic School will be used for the sorting the clothes and toys, and then distributing it to the families, Canzoniero said.

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