Tuesday February 19, 2013

JAMAICA -- Everyone is invited to a spaghetti dinner on Friday night.

All of the profits will be split evenly between the homeowner and tenants who had occupied a home at the time of a fire in Jamaica.

"It’s free will donation," said Norma Drosky, pastor of the Jamaica Community Church, where the event will be held from 5 to 7 p.m.

The fire on Mowrey Road happened on Jan. 29. Veda Bassett had owned the home since 2008. Jennifer Esposito and her son had been living there, when the fire destroyed the home.

"A lot of time and energy was put into renovating it," said Bassett. "It was just about done. I was really sad that it happened. It was a big loss."

Bassett had lost furniture and other household goods in the destruction of the fire. Esposito had lost all her and her son’s clothing.

Two or three days after the fire, Drosky started to think about what the church could do for Bassett, who has been a member of the congregation, and her tenants.

"We help a lot of people who have great needs," said Drosky. "A portion of our income goes to a fund to help people."

The Jamaica Community Church has previously helped others as they face disaster-related issues. Drosky referenced Moe’s Market. Its owners lived in Jamaica, too. When the store caught on fire, the church gave the family money to get back on its feet.

"We help in smaller ways, too," said Drosky. "One reason I came (to Jamaica) was because of the way the community rallied together after Tropical Storm Irene. They were there for each other and helped each other. I was very impressed with that."

Donations have already started to assist the families affected by this fire. People have donated clothing to the members by going to the Facebook page, "Who Gives," as well as donations coming into Equilibrium, in Brattleboro.

Drosky told the Reformer that the church would be helping the Jamaica fire victims on an "ongoing basis."

"Both are staying with friends right now," said Drosky. "As they get settled, hopefully in apartments in town or close by, we’re going to be further helping them."

Bassett said Jamaica is "a very supportive community."

"I’m really feeling a lot of love from the people in Jamaica," she said. "I’m really happy they came together and are doing this spaghetti dinner for Jennifer and I. It’s a great place to live."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.