Helping friends affected by the fires and building collapses in NY

Gang, we’re all family here, yeah? Maybe you’re a friend of mine, or maybe you’re a fan of my work, or maybe you just stopped by out of curiosity. But if you’re here, chances are good that you like writing or writers or reading or listening to art. And that makes us family.

And our family needs our help.

Help Nora Brooks Recover from Fire!
Help Nora Brooks Recover from Fire!

This week, some of our artistic family were in NY, living on the Lower East Side, in those buildings that burned and collapsed following a gas explosion. Writer Nora Brooks and her husband, puppet builder and set designer Matt Brooks, had recently moved from my town of Portland, OR to the Lower East Side, where Nora is an MFA candidate in the New School. I know Nora from around the Portland lit scene and I love her work. Now, because of the explosion and fire, she and Matt have lost everything: Matt’s power tools, cameras, lighting equipment, hand tools, and his intricate puppets; Nora’s books and writing equipment. They even lost their beloved cat! 😦

Obviously, we can never replace Nora and Matt’s cat, but we can help them rebuild their professional lives as they replace all their tools and books and equipment. You can donate to their fundraiser here.

Laura Gibson Fire Recovery Fund
Laura Gibson Fire Recovery Fund

Musician and songwriter Laura Gibson also lived in those now-destroyed buildings. I know Laura from her beautiful performance at the Oregon Book Awards in 2013, and I’ve been a fan of her work ever since. She, too, had recently moved to NY for graduate school — she’s at Hunter College — and when the buildings caught fire, she was inside! She made it out fine, but she lost all her materials for school as well as her instruments and musical equipment she was using to record a new album.

She’s been receiving a lot help in the form of clothes and blankets from local friends, but that musical equipment is expensive, so she needs funds as well. You can donate to her fundraiser here.

Of course, there are a lot of people who have lost homes and precious possessions. Twenty-two people are injured, some of them seriously, and two people are still missing. If you want to help beyond these two fundraisers, check NY Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, or donate to the Red Cross. And if you know of any other ways to help — volunteer work, donation centers, local businesses helping their neighbors — please share them in the comments!

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