Tag Archives: American Red Cross

Bridgeport Fire: You Can Still Help

Elaine Marino had a busy New Year’s Day.

After “06880” reported on her efforts to aid the 120 victims of a Bridgeport fire, she was flooded with offers to help. She scurried around Westport, picking up donations of clothes, food and toys, then headed a few miles away to deliver them.

City Council president Tom McCarthy helped her unload her jam-packed car. He said they’d been overwhelmed with clothing donations.

But there’s a lot the 50-plus families still need, including:

  • Food
  • Furniture
  • Bedding (twin, full or queen)
  • Towels
  • Utensils
  • Small appliances
  • Other items you’d need if you were starting your home over from scratch
  • Toys for the kids who lost all their  Christmas gifts
  • Cat and dog food and items
  • Gift cards to Stop & Shop, and Target.
The aftermath of the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Brian Pounds, AP)

The aftermath of the Bridgeport condominium fire. (Photo/Brian Pounds, AP)

Elaine returned home, then went off to Bed, Bath & Beyond, with 10 of those 20% off coupons.

If you’d like her to pick up items from your home tomorrow for delivery, email esmarino@msn.com.

There are other ways to help. For example, several GoFundMe pages have been set up for victims. Click here, then scroll down.

For donation drop-off information, call the Bridgeport Emergency Operations Center (203-579-3829), or the mayor’s office (Gina Malheiro or John Gomes, (203-727-4045).

Monetary donations can be send to: Red Cross, 158 Brooklawn Avenue, Bridgeport, CT 06604. The phone number is 800-319-9935.

Haiti Hits Home

For many Westporters, the news from Haiti is devastating, despondent — and distant.

For Wilgins Altera, it’s immediate, visceral, and all too real.

Wilgins Altera (Photo by Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com)

Born in Brooklyn to Haitian immigrants, at age 7 he moved with his family to Providence, Rhode Island.  He graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 2007 with a degree in criminal justice, psychology and accounting.

Last February 2 — almost exactly a year ago — he was sworn in as an officer of the Westport Police Department.

Over 30 members of his extended family live in Port-au-Prince, or nearby.  All are accounted for — but 2 died in the earthquake’s rubble.

Many of his fellow officers did not know of Wilgins’ Haitian background.  As soon as they heard, they rushed to help.

“Everyone has been very concerned and supportive,” he said.  “They ask all the time how my family is doing.  They really care.”

A captain discussed the possibility of sending Wilgins to Haiti, to help.

The Police Benevolent Association raised funds for relief.  Many members donated generously.

Of course, help — through organizations like Save the Children and the Red Cross — is still needed.

“Every day there, people still need food and medicine,” Wilgins said.  “It’s great to see so many people involved.  And it’s not just Westport, but around the nation and the world.”