St. Aloysius Church's annual collection drive is focusing on raising donations for families displaced in a fire on Gould Place last week — which included a mother with a one-month-old child.
The church collects contributions at this time of year for its Super Bowl of Caring drive, said Sister Justine Pinto, who leads social outreach for the parish. All donations go toward helping those in the local community, Pinto said.
But after a fire engulfed a multifamily home on Gould Place on Thursday, Pinto said the parishioners immediately began reaching out to the church and asking how they could help.
“The Caldwell community will always stand by their people,” said Pinto. “Because this just happened … we’re just getting facts in, but people are already calling and offering to give clothes and things they can donate.”
Those interested in donating can contact Sister Justine Pinto at St. Aloysius Parish at (973) 226-0209, ext. 37.
The church is looking to collect funds, gift cards, clothing, furniture, and more for the families that were displaced in the fire, Pinto said. So far, a few people have donated gift cards and one family is willing to donate an entire dining room set.
The fire at the three-level Gould Place home broke out at about 3 p.m. that day and shot billowing smoke into the air which could be seen several blocks away.
Police officers on the scene rescued a man believed to be living in the attic, and a neighbor managed to pull a mother and her 25-day-old baby from the first floor, according to eyewitnesses.
The fire in the home rekindled after it appeared to be under control about an hour later. Emergency crews from more than a dozen municipalities struggled to contain the blaze.
The multifamily structure's roof eventually collapsed as it became engulfed in flames as crews doused the home with a powerful hose attached to a fire engine ladder.
The homes on both sides of the structure were also deemed uninhabitable due to smoke and water damage.
At least one of the families displaced — a mother and father with three children between the ages of 9 and 12 — are parishioners at the church, Pinto said.
But she added that the church is raising funds for any of the families who are in need.
“We’ll do whatever we can,” Pinto said. “That’s our ministry here. We don’t care who they are; we just want to help them.”