The Martino’s home illuminated under lights from the fire trucks at 2:15 a.m. Jan. 21.
Carla Appel has been through two house fires in her lifetime, most will remember when she and her family lost everything in a blaze on Dec. 27, 2008, but her first horrifying experience was when she was just 4-years old and her father put her on his chest and slid under the flames as a dryer fire consumed their home on Ann Rose Drive.
She knows what it’s like to flee a house fire on a frigid night with no shoes on your feet, grateful to be able to look around and see that your entire family made it out as neighbors rush to your side with blankets and coats to keep you warm.
With the fourth anniversary of the latest fire behind her she remembers the kindness of neighbors and complete strangers who rallied to bring some normalcy back to her family’s lives back then. So when she heard about the Martino Family losing everything in a house fire on Hawthorne Lane early this morning, she knew she had to do something to help.
Appel is working on organizing a collection drive for the Martino family, seeking gift cards from Kohl’s, Target, Grocery stores, CVS, etc that will help them replace some of the things they lost this morning.
The family consists of the parents, a fifth grade boy and A 13 year old daughter and a 15 year old daughter, who will need clothing, shoes, etc as they work to put their lives back together.
Gift cards are so helpful, because they can use them to pick up the things you can’t take from your own belongings, like undergarments, toiletries and makeup.
UPDATE: Aileen DeFeo has graciously offered the use of the conference room at Coldwell Banker, 564 Racebrook Road as a drop off point for anyone who would like to donate gift cards for the Martino family, Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 4-7 p.m. or any other day this week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Appel learned from mom, Kelli Martino, a teacher at Race Brook School, that the gift cards would be greatly appreciated — the family lost everything — Mary Kate plays Hockey at Amity and she and her sister both play Lacrosse, so gift cards from Ferguson’s and Whitey Benson’s could help.
Other suggestions are DSW, TJ MAXX, Marshall’s, Home Goods, American Eagle, Dick’s Sporting Goods, American Express or Visa gift cards.
Toiletries, bags of socks etc.
Kelli said she would appreciate it if anyone who is uncertain about these things could send a gift in their name to help Holy Infant Church.
If you have any questions regarding the most needed items for a displaced family, or to share ideas, call Carla at 203-214-2652.