Hundreds of people walk through the doors of Mayor Dan Rizzo’s office – especially over the last week – but none have pulled at his heartstrings as much as little Gina Brophy of Millis, MA.
Just a few days after Mayor Rizzo, Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and former Middlesex DA Gerry Leone kicked off the Revere Tornado Relief Fund, Brophy decided to raise money for the people of Revere with an ice tea stand.
It was slow going, she said, but things picked up enough with some publicity that she was able to raise $50.
Monday morning, Brophy walked through the doors of the Mayor’s Office with her little wooden box containing the $50 and a ‘Revere Strong’ button.
On the front, scrawled in pencil was ‘All Money Goes to Revere Tornado Victims.’
“She could have done anything with her time and she wanted to help us,” said the mayor. “If that doesn’t pull at the heartstrings, I don’t know what does.”
But Brophy hasn’t been the only person with charity on the mind.
Several area businesses, non-profits and institutions have stepped up to give to the fund.
A huge contingent of donors and officials, including Rizzo, Warren, Markey, Leone, state elected officials and local city councillors gathered at City Hall to kick off the effort.
It is still tenable whether or not Revere will get disaster aid from the federal or state governments – and at this point the answer is likely a big ‘no’ – but private fund-raising efforts are clearly underway.
“In the aftermath of this, it gave me great comfort that our residents stood side by side helping one another,” Rizzo said at Friday’s kick-off. “The storm was so isolated that it’s not likely we’ll be approved for much, if any, state or federal aid. Those neighbors will not have that kind of help in shouldering the burden of rebuilding their lives after this disaster. That is why we’re forming the Revere Tornado Relief Fund.”
Rizzo and the Fund’s committee agreed to appoint former Middlesex County DA Gerry Leone to head up the fund, and he promised to make the process quick, transparent and smooth.
“It’s very important we watch what we’re doing and how we’re doing it,” he said.
He pledged that the Fund would have “transparency, timeliness and efficiency.”
He said he believes there will be a process that will involve applications and addressing short-term needs prior to long-term needs. It will be needs-based and will likely require some proof of income and resources.
On Friday, the Fund already had $100,000 pledged, but much more has been given and much more is expected.
“Many people will have private insurance, but they could have non-reimbursable costs or very high deductibles,” said Rizzo. “There will be uninsured costs. I spoke with a man who had a $2,500 quote for removing trees and debris from his home. He told me he could either stretch his budget by not paying some bills for a few months, or go out and rent a chain saw and try to handle the dangerous job himself. I encouraged him to wait before doing anything and I think he would be a prime example of someone who might not have the wherewithal to cover the uninsured costs and could use some help.”
All donations are tax deductible, and one can access the fund online at www.reveretornadorelieffund.org.
There, one can find three ways to give – either online, through the mail (P.O. Box 496; Revere, MA 02151), or by dropping donations at the People’s United Bank 310 Broadway Revere.