10 fundraisers to help Montclair businesses, residents hurting after Ida (UPDATED)
Several fundraisers have been started on the site GoFundMe to help businesses and residents in and near Montclair struggling with damaged property after extreme flooding during Ida.
Montclair Local has not been in direct contact with most of the fundraiser organizers and cannot attest to the statements made by organizers. Each of the fundraisers is described as being for someone in or otherwise connected with Montclair Township. If you know of a fundraiser involving a Montclair resident or business, email firstname.lastname@example.org to have it added to this list.
In addition, a relief fund started by Councilman Peter Yacobellis has raised more than $30,000. Its goals included providing assistance to low-income residents suffering damages and losses from the storm.
The GoFundMe fundraisers can be found by searching the names quoted below on GoFundMe.com, or by clicking the links in this post.
This post has been updated to reflect more fundraisers.
"Help us recover our basement from Ida floods" — Montclair State University students Gavin, Luke, Alyssa, Zack and Julian in Little falls saw serious damage in the basement of a Little Falls home they share, organizer Gavin Ard wrote. "The biggest losses are appliances including our washer, dryer, a dehumidifier and a mini fridge. Three of us are music majors at MSU, and have converted the rec room in the basement into our own practice room/studio. Julian, a percussionist, had instruments destroyed in the flood. The main area of the basement had shelves, a futon, a rug and other various items which were ruined by the flood." They said donations will help "us recover and restore our basement to its former glory."
"Hurricane Ida relief" — Organizer Mario Verrico of Montclair wrote his living space, where he'd been for just two weeks, flooded with sewer water. "After a full day, the water has receded, but now there is dirt, mud, and human waste all over the floor, as well as an awful smell." He said he lost collectibles, photos, clothes, sneakers, electronics, appliances, cages and food and supplies for his pets. Shadow, his chinchilla, was living in the small bathroom of another place he was temporarily staying, along with Mochi, his flying squirrel, he wrote. His dog, Oreo, lost his puppy bed, tent, and all of his toys, he wrote. The fundraiser aims to replace essentials and help Verrico afford a new place to live.
"Help my friend replace their items lost during Ida" — Casey Carpenter of Montclair posted a fundraiser "for a close friend who is so humble and private they would never ask for help" and who became trapped in a building as an adjacent parking lot became flooded. "They tried to push their way out of the building but the water pressure was too strong. The doors would not open. They realized they were trapped inside." Eventually, the friend got to a higher floor, where the friend saw their rental car float away with the storm surge, before it slammed into the back of the parking lot with the next wave of the water, Carpenter wrote. The friend was able to get out of the building the next afternoon, Carpenter wrote. The friend "lost everything in their car — expensive equipment, clothing ... all of which are needed for their work as they are a self-employed contractor. ... They got home and were sobbing with exhaustion, confusion and relief." The fundraiser was meant to help the friend replace those belongings. The fundraiser didn't specify which lot the friend's car had been in, but massive flooding in Montclair's North Fullerton Avenue deck spilled out into several nearby businesses, causing extensive damage.
"Mike & Lindsay destroyed home from Hurricane Ida" — Sisters Amanda, Becky and Jill wrote they started a fundraiser on behalf of their brother, Mike, and future sister-in-law, Lindsay. The wedding is less than a month away, they wrote. "They have lost their home and all personal belongings to the rain, storms and backed up sewer water from Hurricane Ida," they wrote. "The night the storm hit they had minutes to grab what they could as water came pouring into their home ... getting in their car with only what they could carry and Luigi (their puppy) trying to move to higher grounds to save themselves." Mike and Lindsay stayed in a hotel after making their way through town, the sisters wrote. Mike and Lindsay "have lost their home that they have been building together for the last six months. We pray that this will only make the two of them stronger and this is the worst that they have to go through," they wrote.
"Help Tom and Marissa get back to their home" — According to the fundraiser by Iveta Wentink, Tom is a Montclair police officer who lives with wife Marissa in Belleville. They have a 7-year-old son, a 2-month-old daughter, two puppies and two cats. "Tom puts his life on the line for his community every day, and I would like to show him that we got their back!" Wentink wrote. Water quickly filled the home, but the family safely evacuated with their children and pets, she wrote. They came back to find the basement full of water to the ceiling, and significant flooding in the garage and den. "Here listed are few things that were lost, which does not include the entire list of things that were lost the freezer, treadmill, power wheels, diapers ... snow blower, power washer dresser and cabinets ... bookcases, sofa tables, toys ... washer and dryer, pans, fryer, toaster oven, iMac computer, printer, thousands of dollars of Nick's toys, exercise machines, home videos, collectibles, Nick's school projects and art, pictures of Marissa's deceased parents and many other things we can't replace or ever get back."
"Help save and restore Samba Montclair" — Samba Montclair, like several other businesses surrounding Montclair's North Fullerton Avenue deck, was hard-hit by floodwaters that came gushing out of the garage. Fundraiser organizer Theresa Tumminello, on behalf of PR firm diaz * schloss communications, which works with Samba, wrote: "The entire basement, including all food storage, supplies and air conditioning system, has been destroyed, along with the restaurant’s beautiful outdoor dining area and gorgeous plantings ... all gone." The restaurant saw damage to its main dining rooms, "which were just expanded and beautifully renovated a few months ago." The owner plans to reopen but "acknowledges the long road ahead to get Samba Montclair back to its pre-existing cherished state," Tumminello wrote. "He’s been a generous donor to so many Montclair community causes in his 11 years in business, and prides himself on his independence. Now, however, he needs his community’s help."
"Help Neil replace lost equipment" — Photographer and videographer Neil Grabowsky, who works with Montclair Local, was also among those hard-hit when the North Fullerton deck flooded and spilled water into adjacent businesses. Grabowsky had been trapped in his studio, needing to break a window to escape, before seeing most or all of his cameras, lenses and other equipment destroyed. Fundraiser organizers Michael Castellano and Liz Novak wrote: "The true devastation for Neil came from the realization that he would no longer be able to pursue his passion — because most of his equipment wouldn’t be covered by insurance. ... If you are lucky enough to know Neil, then you know he is an amazing husband, father, son and friend. As friends of Neil we are starting this page to help someone who has gone above and beyond for the people around him — let’s all step up and help him when he needs it!"
"Help restore Let's Yo! Montclair after flood" — Fundraiser organizer Devan Patel wrote that "Montclair's favorite and only frozen yogurt shop, Let's Yo! Montclair, located on the corner of Bloomfield and Valley Road, has been devastated by the floodwaters of Hurricane Ida." The shop saw its entire basement, including freezers, air conditioning, electric wiring, food and other supplies destroyed, Patel wrote. Owner Rajiv Gupta purchased the shop from previous owners during the pandemic, Patel wrote. "Let's Yo! Montclair is not just a business for him but his full-time job. He is there before the store opens and after the store closes to ensure top-notch customer service. More than likely, as I am writing this, he is probably cleaning up the basement with his family and figuring out on how to continue operating seamlessly despite the damages."
“Help sustain the MAX of Montclair” — Jamie Lynn France, manager of the MAX of Montclair on Valley Road, wrote that the gym took on massive flooding, and owner Toby Bavli flew home from vacation to find the damage. “Many of us know Toby's giving heart,” France wrote. “She has "saved" so many people in the Montclair community over the last 6 years. Now It's our time to save her.” She said the extent of the damage wasn’t yet known, but it would be “great.”
“Help save 515 Bloomfield Ave. building!” — Reagan Villet wrote the building, home of multiple restaurants as well as a retail location and eight residential units, saw water levels rise more than five feet in the storm, knocking down walls in a shared basement. “Residents will likely be without essential hot water or gas for weeks and restaurants are in jeopardy of opening again in the near future,” Villet wrote. According to the fundraiser, damage to the 100-year-old building is estimated at at least $100,000. “This building, both commercial and residential, has been integral to the community for many years contributing to the revitalization and growth of the neighborhood. Whether you’ve stopped in for a meal or popped in to visit one of the long-time Montclair residents, 515 Bloomfield could use your donation to bring this vibrant building back to life.”
— Compiled by Louis C. Hochman