The blaze killed one woman, displaced six families, and destroyed Mama Rosa Cucina and Pizzeria, owned by the Gagliardi family; the much-loved pizzeria was the family’s primary source of income.
As routinely happens in Bayonne, the town is pitching in to help neighbors in need.
In this case, there will be a Take Me Home Fundraiser, #TeamBayonne, featuring a softball tournament, live music, food, and drinks at 16th street Park on July 15 at 11 a.m.
All proceeds will go directly to the families affected, with the help of the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation. (BEOF).
Stepping up to the plate
Samantha Howard is executive director of the BEOF. “We will be used as the nonprofit to get tax credit for donations,” Howard said. “Funding will come to us because we are a nonprofit and can document all our donations, which will be given specifically to the fire victims.”
Howard directed donors to the BEOF website, beof.org, where visitors can click a link to donate.
Jenna Valdes, assistant to the president, FFP Wealth Management, is among those putting together the 16th Street Park event.
“We were so upset by the news. It’s a tragedy for everybody involved,” Valdes told the Bayonne Community News. The building that burned down was across the street from the office of FFP Wealth Management.
“After waking up to the news of the fire, Cait and I immediately thought, we need to do something to help,” Valdes said. “We began going through ideas together that morning and decided a softball tournament would be the most beneficial fundraiser we can put together.”
Caitlin Baron is an administrative assistant at FFP. Valdes and Baron then presented the idea to FFP Cares, a volunteer group within the two local companies FFP works for, Graziano & Co, CPAs & FFP Wealth Management.
“They were very receptive to our proposal and quickly helped us get the Take Me Home Fundraiser off the ground,” Valdes said. “With BEOF allowing us to use them as a catalyst for raising funds, our small softball idea has quickly branched out into an all-day event.”
All this, she said, was “thanks to the help of all of the amazing people in this town who want nothing more than to help raise every dollar for our neighbors who have lost everything. We are very touched and thankful for all of the helping hands and cannot wait to see it all come together on July15.”
A terrible loss
Ruvee Yao, who died in the fire, was 42 and a lifelong resident of Bayonne. She earned a degree in Engineering from Rutgers University and was the owner/operator of The Kumon Learning Center on the ground level of the building. Yao’s 72-year-old mother, Ruth, made it out of the building, reportedly thinking that her daughter had already escaped the blaze.
Ruvee Yao is survived by a large family and many friends.
These are extremely hard times for the Yao family, the Gagliardi family, and the six other families who were displaced
“I hope the fundraiser will give every one of those families a start to rebuilding their lives and take a little pressure off of them,” Valdes said.
For more information, to register for the softball game, or to become a sponsor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.