The Port Richmond Strong Committee announced that the people of Port Richmond as well as friends and supporters raised a total of $20,476 in the wake of the New Year’s Day house explosion.
Port Richmond Strong was formed by Port Richmond On Patrol And Civic, Ancient Order of Hibernians/LAOH Division 87 and the St. George Board of Limited Jurisdiction.
Through coin drops, local school dress-down days, Sunday church collections and a sold-out bingo, the fundraiser was a grassroots, rowhouse-to-rowhouse campaign that was from the people of Port Richmond for the people of Port Richmond.
“This was kind of like a neighborhood-wide block collection,” said Ken Paul, president of PROPAC, who lived a block from the explosion and spent days helping his neighbors searching through the rubble for their belongings, pets and sentimental items. “We know we can’t replace anyone’s house or give them a big payout, but the community wanted to give something to help their friends and neighbors.”
The $20,000-plus was raised from a coin drop at AOH 87, bingo at St. George Hall, several dress-down days from the local schools, special collections at local Catholic churches and jar donations on the counters of local businesses.
A GoFundMe and Venmo account were set up, but the majority of donations came from community events.
The catchphrase, “PORT RICHMOND STRONG: WE GOT YOUR BACK!” was printed on shirts and sold as well.
Port Richmond Strong will disperse the funds equally and fairly to the people of the 3500 blocks of Belgrade, Miller and Gaul streets whose houses sustained damage due to the early-morning Jan. 1 disaster.
Residents who were in their homes and sustained damage from the explosion will be contacted via a door-to-door campaign on the affected blocks.
According to the city, there were 43 homes that sustained major damage in the disaster.
There will be a 30-day window to collect all the residents’ information. Then, funds will be given via a bank check. No cash will be dispersed. Only one check per address.
All questions and concerns can be emailed to PROPAC19134@gmail.com. ••