By: Jason Cohen
A month after moving to Roxbury Township tragedy struck a family when their home accidentally burnt down. However, the community has rallied and aided them in their time in need.
On Jan. 20, Sheilla,30, and Phil Bandari,31, and their sons, Ashai,3, and Juda,1, lost all of their material possessions in a house fire. Although they were quite new to Roxbury, residents stepped up and began a fundraiser to help them.
The GoFundMe launched a month ago and has since raised $17,418 of a $1,000 goal with donations by 322 people.
Phil Bandari commented on the page expressing his gratitude for the financial assistance.
“We never would have imagined that we would ever be faced with such a tragic event, but the outpour of support from our family, friends and the whole community has really helped us so much through this difficult time,” he said. “Many of our neighbors and members of the community who we have never met have treated us like members of their families. Your compassion and generosity is so greatly appreciated. We feel so blessed to have such amazing support. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Thank you!”
Among the organizations that have given money include, Roxbury Soccer Club, Roxbury High School Baseball, Roxbury Recreation Jr Gaels Lacrosse Program, Emergence Church, Red Dogs Travel Baseball, CYO (St Therese Basketball Program), Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, Roxbury Police Department and the Roxbury Social Services.
Nissy Bandari, sister of Phil Bandari, discussed the state of the family with the Roxbury News. “No one is prepared for these types of situations,” Bandari said. “Let alone with two young kids and barely knowing anyone in the community.”
“Even though they lost material things, they still have each other,” she said. “The house can be rebuilt, but lives can’t be replaced.”
Her brother and sister-in-law are now in temporary housing and are slowly trying to put the pieces back together. While insurance is helping, the donations have mattered even more, she said.
“They’re shocked. They didn’t even know anyone in the community,” Bandari said. “We can’t even put words together to thank them. We’re very thankful for anyone that has thought of us or prayed for us. Times like this make us cherish the good things.”
According to Bandari, the family is taking it one day at a time and trying not to dwell on what happened. As a young married couple with two little children, they were quite excited when they moved into their first home. But things don’t always work as planned.
“Right now, they are trying to take care of the kids and they don’t really know what’s going on,” Bandari explained. “I don’t think they have gotten over it. I don’t think it’s something we’ll ever get over. You just have to move forward.”