An update on the local efforts to help the survivors of the Monterey Blvd fire on June 7th, from Katherine Carlin.
This tragedy brought Sunnyside together in a truly beautiful way. Residents raised over $20,000 in monetary compensation for the displaced families and for the funeral expenses of Yolanda Milton. Other good news is that the building is scheduled to be repaired starting next week, and we have hope that our neighbors will come home after those repairs are done. This is so important because there are children who belong at Sunnyside Elementary when classes return in person in the fall!
I am new to Sunnyside, having moved here from San Mateo in October of 2019. Because Roel and I live next door to the fire (and because I started my career as a community organizer) it felt completely natural to rally everyone in the neighborhood to help. What we didn’t foresee—what really surprised and even overwhelmed us—was the magnitude of people’s kindness and generosity.
When we opened our garage door to accept donations of children’s clothing, gift cards, and cash, we didn’t expect that two hours later, we’d be sorting through and divvying up close to six thousand dollars in cash and gift cards. People came to offer words of comfort, and people from different income levels gave whatever they could. Sunnyside is not a snooty place in San Francisco, it is diverse and it is grounded, and now I can say with authority that the people here look out for and take care of each other.
So much good has come from this tragedy. The five victims themselves have expressed to me, over and over again, that the outpouring of love, support, and financial assistance made them feel less afraid, more held, and safer through a very scary and threatening experience. On a personal level, it’s made me appreciate the heart and spirit of this community. I feel like this is home for us now, and I want to thank everyone who contributed in any way to this effort.
If you loved the feeling of contributing as a community, please stay abreast of the work of Perla Villa for The Sunnyside Community Pantry (find it on Facebook). She not only organized her group to donate significant resources to the fire victims, she’s working to feed families in this neighborhood every day.
2 thoughts on “Monterey Blvd. Fire Aftermath: A neighborhood comes together for the survivors”
Thanks so much, Katie, for organizing the community to help our neighbors survive this tragedy with financial aid and good will. This brings out the best in us and reinforces our compassion for each other.
Hey! Thanks, Tad! I agree that it did bring out the best in us and reinforce our compassion for each other. Plus I got to meet a phenomenally gifted artist!