The force of the fast-rising water was so strong that Sahar couldn’t open her front door.
She was trapped in her ground floor apartment with her 7-year-old twins and 14-year-old son as the cresting Elizabeth River inundated their home. No one knew how to swim and Sahar feared they would all be electrocuted or drowned.
Sahar’s neighbors heard her screams. Upstairs neighbors dropped a cable from a second story window, and pulled the family from their window to safety above. Sahar and her children escaped with their lives, but lost the entire contents of their home.
Meanwhile, around the corner, firefighters struggled to free an elderly woman trapped in her ground floor apartment by Hurricane Ida’s raging flood waters. Mohammad and his family, on the second floor, rushed to provide aid and shelter to their neighbor, guiding her through the hip-high waters and bringing her into their home.
On Wednesday night, neighbors helped neighbors as an entire apartment complex was inundated by flood waters. Now it’s our turn to offer help.
Four residents of the low-income Oakwood Plaza apartment complex of Elizabeth, NJ perished after historic flooding ravaged the community. Many more people might have succumbed to the devastating flood waters had not their neighbors acted quickly and bravely to assist neighbors in distress.
We are reaching out to you to ask you, too, to lend a hand to our neighbors.
Ida’s damage was so extensive that the entire Oakwood complex was evacuated on Thursday. In one night, over 600 residents became homeless. Dozens of cars, essential to people’s livelihoods and care of elderly and disabled household members, were destroyed. Families lack insurance coverage to absorb the loss.
For Sahar’s family and 32 other households of resettled refugee families in the complex, the painful loss of their homes is particularly traumatic. Having fled war and violence in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, they are now temporarily housed in distant hotels, uncertain if and when they will be able to return home.
We are partnering with the International Rescue Committee to identify and assist displaced families. Please join us in extending a safety net to people who have already endured so much. Contribute generously to our Hurricane Ida relief fund to help families restore their homes, dignity and autonomy.
While we expect some relief to address immediate emergency needs of food, temporary shelter and clothing, we are prioritizing resources that will fill the gaps. Working with the IRC and speaking directly to the families themselves, our fund will help families to return to work, and children, after so many disruptions, to succeed in school. We are determined to respond quickly and fairly, without subjecting families to bureaucratic delay, to rebuild their lives after yet another storm.
Thank you for your love and support. This fundraiser is not just about money. You know many of these families from our dinners and events you have hosted where they shared their culture and food with us. You opened your homes and hearts to welcome these families in the earliest days of their new lives in the USA.
We know they felt the love then and could really use feeling that love again now.
Melina and Kate
Melina Macall and Kate McCaffrey
Please note, at this time donations of items are specifically not requested.
100% of your donation to this campaign is tax-deductible.
If you or your company are able to offer a matching grant please contact us directly at [email protected].