Eyewitness News viewers help Sandy victims warm up

November 26, 2012 1:41:32 PM PST
An Eyewitness News story leads to an outpouring of support for a family in Staten Island. Sandy left the family without heat or hot water. But now things are warming up after a generous donation.

We introduced viewers to the Borelli family on Saturday night, when their house was 50 degrees and they had been living without heat and hot water for more than 3 weeks. (READ PREVIOUS STORY) Since then, dozens of Eyewitness News viewers have reached out to help, and now FEMA is getting involved, too.

Two-year old Isabella is still wearing a sweater and a winter coat inside her Staten Island home. But thanks to several generous Eyewitness News viewers who donated space heaters, the thermostat at the Borelli home has gone from 50 up to 58 degrees.

"We want to thank everyone for helping us w everything. And it really helped so we are really thankful for everything," said Bianca Perez.

The kerosene heater warming the Borelli's living room was a gift from George Katrandjian, who drove an hour from his office in Englewood, New Jersey this morning to hand-deliver it to the family. George watched our report Sunday morning, about how the Borelli's haven't had heat or hot water since Hurricane Sandy destroyed the boiler and gas tank in their basement.

"When I saw their little girl, I felt terrible and it's the holiday season and they are freezing," he said.

Eileen was also moved to give, after she watched 2-year old Isabella suffering from a cold, and her father, having to warm water on the stove so his little girl could take a bath.

"I got a target gift card, toys and clothes for the little girl," she said.

The Borelli's landlord has said he can't afford to fix the house's heating system. So Monday, Thomas applied for FEMA aid, which should provide up to $2,000 dollars in rent for the next 3-4 months, as well as money to replace the items that were lost when the Borelli's basement flooded.

"I've been doing this for a few years, I like coming out to help people in dire straits, it makes me feel real good," said Clete Strayer with FEMA.

As for Thomas, he's hopeful that between the help from the government and the kindness of Eyewitness News viewers, that he and his family will be warm and healthy very soon.

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