It all started with one Facebook post from BVP teacher, Connie Yankus:
BVP family, I am saddened to share that one of my Alaska scholars lost everything in a house fire last night. I am writing to ask for donations of gift cards, clothes, toys for the family as they are very much in need of clothing and basic necessities but also lost all of their Christmas gifts. My scholar is age 6, wears a 7/8 in clothing, and has a shoe size of 12. Her older sister is 7 years old, wears a size 8 in clothing and a size 1 in shoes. Any help would be tremendously appreciated. I am willing to pick up any donations and drop them off to the family- please private message me if you can help. Thank you so much.
The lightning fast support from our connected community was amazing. 75 comments and a short 48 hours later, and the response has been beyond incredible. About 50 BVP staffers pledged gifts from $5-$100 totalling about $1,000. BVP business partners, families, friends, and extended networks have brought together more than a thousand dollars more in gift cards, plus bags of clothing, uniforms, presents, and even furniture to surround this family with support.
To underscore the power of connectedness and the extended network of the BVP Team & Family, check out what happened when BVP’s Associate Director Lina Musayev leapt into action:
When I found out what happened, I didn’t waste a second and posted the BVP teacher’s message on a few of my Facebook group walls. After all, social media is the fastest way to get the message out these days. My friends and family all responded right away, however, these Facebook groups are filled with strangers - the only thing in common was that we were all parents. The response was incredible.
In minutes, I had people I did not even know messaging me that they were willing to give me clothes, gift cards, Christmas gifts, etc. Many even went out to stores to buy new things for the girls. I drove around for two days around local towns in Massachusetts, picking up bags upon bags. I was completely overwhelmed at the kindness of strangers. This family has a lot of very special guardians by their side this holiday season!
They say it takes a village to raise a child, or at least it used to- back when neighbors were perhaps a little more friendly and families lived closer together. The quick response and torrent of support that has arrived since Connie posted the request shows that it does still take a village- we just organize our villages differently now.
So the donations came flooding and Connie has had to promise about a dozen people that she will let them know when the family gets organized and figures out what other help they need. It's heartwarming to know that when and if the family needs more help, it will be there.
Because of the BVP Team & Family as well as so many more that answered the call, this family is now in a much better better place than they were Saturday night when everything was lost. Thank you!
Sadly however, another family was also affected by this fire and is still in need. They have four kids, also lost everything, they also have limited extended family, and their Red Cross provided housing is expired. So for those of you who have been thinking about making a contribution but haven’t yet done so, you can still give directly to the Central Falls Holiday Express. Please reach out to Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect on how best to do so.