CLARK, NJ - A steady stream of family, friends and total strangers entered the doors of Molly Maguire’s on Sunday to contribute to a fundraiser to help the Manata family get back on its feet. People came from far and wide bearing checks, gift cards and donations of all sorts to give to the family recently devastated after losing everything in a home fire.
“The outpouring of love we have gotten is overwhelming: friends, family, the PBA, business-owners and people we don’t even know,” Antonio Manata said. Manata, an eight-year resident of Clark and a lieutenant in the Clark police department, received a call that his house was on fire on the afternoon of Dec. 8. There was no one home at the time of the fire and although the destruction was widespread, his family was safe.
“I can’t begin to explain how thankful I am for the texts, phone calls, gifts, everyone just asking what we need and what they can do," he said. "The sense of community in this town is amazing. I’m going to pay back what they are doing for my family a thousand-fold.”
The Manata family is getting ready to move into a rental home until they can rebuild their own.
“We have been spending lots of time out with friends and family instead of having the boys in the hotel all the time," Isabel Manata said. The couple have two young sons. "We are looking forward to settling down and getting ready for Christmas with them.”
Like her husband, Isabel Manata expressed her gratitude for all the generosity shown to her family during the event.
“I wasn’t expecting this (fundraiser), it’s nice to feel that people are really ready to support us through this difficult time,” she said.
The fundraiser was the brainchild of Clark police officer and PBA delegate Maz Elwardany who worked with PBA President Ted McKeown to organize the event at Molly Maguire’s. According to McKeown, John McPartlan, the owner of Molly Maguire’s was quick to respond to the request to host the event at his restaurant. McPartlan provided free food and the profits from drink specials throughout the night to the family.
Within the first few hours of the event, one police cruiser was already filled with donations with no signs of a slowdown in giving. According to McKeown every PBA in the county conference made a donation.
“Everyone just wants to help them, I got calls from all sorts of organizations and people this week,” McKeown said.
Those who would like to help but were unable to make the event can send donations made out to Clark PBA Local #125 Manata Fundraiser to:
Clark PBA Local 125
P.O. Box 950
Clark, NJ 07066
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