In the past three days the Turlock and Denair communities, as well as people from other cities like Pleasanton, Atwater, Fresno and Modesto, have rallied to the aid of Jeff and Laura Long and their four small children, who lost their home to fire on Thanksgiving Eve.
A GoFundMe account was set up for the Long’s by family friend Brooke Bettencourt, who was contacted by TurlockCityNews.com, and within one day monetary donations skyrocketed from about $2,815 to 132 total donations for a whopping $15,835 as of 7 p.m. tonight.
In addition, another family friend, Laura Brem says the family has received all sorts of donations including clothing, toys and a crib.
“Laura [Long] is always giving to others at her job as an assistant principal at Wakefield and now she is receiving the generosity back,” said Brem. “They want to express their gratitude and they are overwhelmed by the generosity of the community. It has been a life-changing experience to see the positive side of humanity.”
One man, Anthony Harding, a 2006 Pitman High graduate, donated $3,000 to the family after reading the story of their loss.
“I don’t know any of them, just my way of trying to help this situation out. The faster we raise the money the faster we help them get back on their feet, I feel like in times like this it’s important to recognize how valuable our lives are and not take anything for granted,” Harding said in a chat message. “That is what it’s about. Trying to make it as less difficult as possible and once again it’s my pleasure and privilege to be put in a situation where I can help out.”
A local toy-giving organization, Letters To Santa Charity, donated dozens of toys to the Long children, who are ages 7 years, 5 years, 3 years, and 8 months.
Jeff and Laura Long had just completed Christmas shopping for her children and the toys were in the house when it burned.
Brem says the Longs have homeowners insurance, however the process is lengthy and she explained they will have to rebuild their house from the ground up and it could be as long as one-year before they move back into their permanent residence.
The money raised will help the Long family pay for day-to-day expenses in the meantime.
“Laura [Long] just wants everyone to know how much the donations mean to them and they are so grateful for the blessings from complete strangers,” said Brem. “She was moved to tears and has been very emotional. They are still overwhelmed with everything,”
Brem says Laura Long will likely be back to work at Wakefield after tomorrow.
“She is in charge of the parade float at Wakefield,” said Brem. “Even with all this happening she is still thinking of the kids at school. Today she was running around getting things organized for the school float for the parade.”
Brem says the Longs are still taking donations and specifically noted they do not need anymore children’s clothing, however they will be in need of furniture items such as a sofa, a dinner table, coffee table, blankets, towels.
Anything the Longs do not use will be further donated to the Turlock Salvation Army.
To donate items, call Brem at 209-648-1550 and to donate money visit http://www.gofundme.com/hydhhc.