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Support displaced families: Fundraiser for massive pre-Christmas blaze victims scheduled for Friday

Sunnyside Community Sevices is hosting a fundraiser for families who were displaced by a five-alarm fire at the apartment complex on 47th Avenue just before Christmas. Photo by Paul Frangipane

Jan. 12, 2024 By Bill Parry

Sunnyside community leader Ty Sullivan and a core group of friends are organizing a fundraiser for their 450+ neighbors who were displaced by a raging five-alarm fire just days before Christmas.

The group is collaborating with Sunnyside Community Services (SCS) to host the Fire Relief Fundraiser on Friday, Jan. 19. All of the proceeds will be added to the GoFundMe account that was set-up by SCS for distribution to all the affected families and individuals.

Sunnyside community leader Ty Sullivan is organizing the fundraising event like he has done so often in the past. Courtesy of Ty Sullivan

“We’ve been doing the whole Sunnyside Strong thing going back since Superstorm Sandy when we did a fundraising event for the folks that were impacted in the Rockaways and we did it again after the Sandy Hook school shootings to benefit the family of Ben Wheeler who grew up in Sunnyside,” Sullivan said.

“And we did another fundraiser for everyone that was impacted by the Sidetracks fire that destroyed so many businesses on Queens Boulevard in 2018, but times have changed and now people are going through the QR codes and setting up GoFundMe accounts but we felt a big fundraising event can still be effective in helping the families that lost so much while providing an opportunity to celebrate this community.”

Sullivan added that he was thrilled to be partnering with Sunnyside Community Services which has hosted so many of the previous fundraising events and opened its doors to the displaced families and the Red Cross following the Dec. 20 fire at the Sunnyside apartment building located at 43-09 47th St..

Sullivan (upper left in Santa hat) and his friends volunteered to launder clothing donated to families at Queens of Angels Church in the days following the massive blaze. Courtesy of Ty Sullivan

“The role they’ve played in all this and the fact that they’re going to be holding the event tells you everything you need to know about Sunnyside Community Services,” Sullivan said.

“They always go above and beyond the call of duty. They truly embody everything good about this community and what their mission is, their goals and philosophies about looking out for the community and allowing us to use their space to hold events like this. They don’t have to do that, but they always answer the bell.”

The center is located at 43-31 39th St. and the fundraiser will be split into two sessions, with session one going on from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and session two running from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Sunnyside Community Services Executive Director Judy Zangwill expressed that she is deeply touched by the overwhelming support from the Sunnyside community for those affected by the December 20th fire.

“Local residents, organizations, and businesses have united in a remarkable display of solidarity, offering help in every way possible. The upcoming benefit on January 19th exemplifies the true spirit of the Sunnyside community. Dedicated volunteers have organized the event, Queens’ restaurants are contributing food and beverages, talented local musicians will entertain guests, and neighboring businesses are generously providing items for the raffle.” said Zangwill.

Sullivan added that while the Sunnyside Community Services fund appears to have stalled, it might be due to so many individuals and families setting up separate GoFundMe accounts.

“The good thing about that is that more people are aware of what happened here,” he said. “Just the other day I heard from a friend in France who wanted to know how to donate.”

Sullivan hopes that Friday’s event boosts the relief effort. “We’re hoping it’s still going to be effective and fun for people to come out and really celebrate the community. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day is community and celebrating the people who really want to help make a difference,”

For more information and to purchase tickets for the fundraiser, click here

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