SUMMIT, NJ - The day after Christmas, Martha Ramirez and her family were burned out of their home on Weaver Street. Some of the residence's occupants were forced to leap from second-story windows and ended up in the hospital. Mercifully, there were no life-threatening injuries, and all are now doing much better.
The City of Summit Fire Department, City Summit Police Department and the Summit Volunteer First Aid Squad responded to the tragedy instantly, injecting control and confidence into an enormously chaotic situation. With an equal degree of urgency, Summit's Other Fellow First Foundation (OFFF) and myriad members of the Hilltop City community sprang into action to assist the family.
In less than a month, Summit responded:
Nearly 500 neighbors have visited a GoFundMe site and donated more than $64,800 to help the fire victims.
The day after the fire, local nonprofit Furniture Assist reached out to the OFFF and provided, at no cost, all the victims' immediate needs.
Many neighbors responded to a request from OFFF request for help and provided clothing, sheets, shoes, winter coats, gift cards and enough furniture to totally furnish the victims temporary housing accommodations by dropping these items off at St. Teresa of Avila Church.
"The overwhelmingly generous and supportive response from over 500 Summit neighbors reveals a lot about the character of those living in 07901," said Brett Haire, one of the Other Fellow First Foundation's Founders and Directors. "On behalf of Martha Ramirez, her family and her tenants, the Other Fellow First Foundation would like to thank the hundreds of her neighbors who, by their actions, kept UNITY in the word community."
Everyone is human and one accident away from a world of anxiety. When adversity does show up, it tests us all. However adversity, while not developing character, has a way of revealing it.
The Summit community's response reminds all that -- in today’s divided world -- there are many more things that unite us as a community than divide us.