Donations pouring in following Carnegie fire
It started with a simple Facebook post from the Carnegie Boys & Girls Club on the evening of March 4.
Since then, the youth-focused nonprofit, along with Carnegie Borough and fire department, has garnered hundreds of donations from community members to support more than a dozen residents displaced by a deadly fire on March 2 at the Sterling Building .
“I know that in times like this people step up and they help, but this has opened my eyes,” Carnegie Mayor Stacie Riley said.
Since the fire, people have donated food, personal care products, money and furniture to various efforts benefitting those who lived in the building.
The Boys & Girls Club and borough building continue to receive material donations, while the fire department is accepting the furniture.
The Carnegie police department helped the borough set up a GoFundMe account and a Carnegie Borough Victim Relief Fund through PNC Bank. One community member dropped off a $1000 check on March 3.
Financial and material contributions have even come from outside Carnegie, too.
“There were people from Bethel Park and Moon asking how they can help. So I felt that by putting up a GoFundMe page, we would just reach more people,” Riley said.
All donations to the GoFundMe campaign will go to the victim relief fund at PNC. The borough hopes to start distributing money from this fund to the fire victims within the next few weeks.
Many of the borough's churches are pitching in, too.
“We've been contacted by just about every church in Carnegie,” police Chief Jeffrey Kennedy said. “I can't keep track of them there are so many churches that have contacted us.”
Community members will have the opportunity to donate at a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 2-6 p.m. March 31 at Cefalo's. Riley guaranteed there will be more fundraising events scheduled in the coming weeks.
Dominic Panucci, branch director of the Boys & Girls Club, is grateful for the many Carnegie Elementary PTA members and other volunteers who, in some cases, have helped out for six hours a day at the club.
According to Panucci, volunteers have done everything from sorting items to calling displaced residents and asking them about their needs.
In less than 48 hours, the Boys & Girls Club received so many donations they had to pause things on March 6 so volunteers could sort through what had arrived. While they're no longer accepting clothes, the club is accepting donations for donations of cleaning supplies, nonperishable foods, toiletries and feminine products.
“Because we're a Boys & Girls Club, we don't normally do stuff like this. But from where we're located, you can literally walk to PaPa J's restaurant in five minutes. Being so close to them and being a part of the Carnegie community, we just felt like we had to do something and next thing we knew we had hundreds of clothes, kitchen utensils and toiletry items,” Panucci said.
Still, Panucci believes his organization is only one piece of a larger community effort.
“The borough has stepped up, the fire department has stepped up, the police, the Red Cross, they've done an awesome job trying to help people with their living situation,” he said. “It was truly individuals on a community level that really started to get everything in motion.”
Sam Bojarski is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.