Helping Families at Rainbow Terrace

$21,425 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 284 people in 25 days
Created March 26, 2018
Anna, a single mother, has been living at Rainbow Terrace for four years with her three children, ages 7, 4 and 7 months. Anna and her family lost everything in the fire that ripped through Rainbow Terrace last week.

The stress of the situation has been extremely hard on Anna and her young family.

Anna’s children lost all of their things – their furniture, their toys, their clothing, their books, their school uniforms, everything. It has been especially hard for Anna’s infant. Anna’s baby was born prematurely and is now suffering from kidney disease and congestive heart failure. At the time of the fire, the baby had just recovered from the flu. The two older children miss their home – the only home they have ever known. They can’t stop talking about what happened – they are still scared. They are having a hard time sleeping and eating.

Anna and her children lost everything in the fire, but the absolute worst part for Anna was losing her memories – namely her deceased mom’s belongings. Anna’s mom passed just over a year ago, on December 12, 2016. The fire took all Anna’s pictures of her mother, plus her mother’s diplomas, her mother’s clothing and the furniture she inherited from her mother. Anna is forced to again grieve her mother’s loss -- but this time without the benefit of pictures and items that would once soothe her.

However, even with all of this, Anna isn’t just thinking about herself. Anna said to us, “It’s not just me, my neighbors lost everything too, we [have] all been living at our homes for a long time. Then to see people [and] kids outside, wearing nothing, when we had to leave really hurts me. We all lost everything.”

On March 26, 2018 at 3:30am, a fire erupted at Rainbow Terrace Apartments in the 7000 block of Garden Valley Avenue. When the first fire broke out and was fought by firefighters, it was thought to be extinguished -- but it reignited at approximately 4:30am.

As shown in the attached photo, the fire was enormous and frightening, to say the least. The blaze ultimately displaced thirty families, including many school-aged children, as well as younger children and infants.
Luckily, and most importantly, there was no loss of life and no major injuries were sustained.

The Red Cross is generously helping 30 families with emergency shelter,  temporary placement and other short-term needs. However, these families have lost everything.  Every resident who wants to return to Rainbow Terrace can, but the families now need to rebuild their lives and homes.

We are working with various non-profits and local agencies finding ways to help the families. For example, the Cleveland Furniture Bank is an important local resource for families. It will help families by providing two beds, a living room set, and a dining room table and chairs. However, from what we understand thus far, the Furniture Bank may entail a cost for users.

Rainbow Terrace families need your help to rebuild their homes --- acquiring furniture from the Furniture Bank (or elsewhere) plus other household needs (food, appliances, clothing, shoes, diapers, toiletries, school uniforms, school supplies, etc.).

Our fundraising goal is $5,000 per family, for a total of $150,000.

This campaign is being led by Lifelong Learning, a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency.  Lifelong Learning runs programs at the Learning Center at Rainbow Terrace. 100% of money donated through this campaign will be used to help the 30 families affected by the fire. You may learn more about Lifelong Learning here: www.llcommunity.org.

To acknowledge the unpredictable nature of social media, a note:  All money raised will benefit the families affected by the fire. However, if contributions exceed our fundraising goal, a scholarship fund will be set up to benefit the Rainbow Terrace youth in consultation with the Cleveland Foundation.

Thank you,
Bridgette Smith (Director, Rainbow Terrace programs)
Candice Greenberg (Director, Lifelong Learning)
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We are amazed by the wonderful ongoing community support for the Rainbow Terrace families affected by the fire.

In light of the publicity that has been given to the needs of the 30 families, and possible additional press coverage this weekend, we were advised to keep the GoFundMe campaign open for now. We are going to heed this advice in the event additional supporters want to give to the Rainbow families in the wake of weekend press coverage.

The most rewarding aspect of the past three weeks has been witnessing the outpouring of support from people near and far. This is exceeded only by seeing the looks on residents' faces as they begin to understand the scope of the community support that stands behind them.

On behalf of the Rainbow Terrace residents -- THANK YOU.

Have a lovely weekend,
Bridgette and Candice
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A YouTube video regarding the Cleveland Police and their help at Rainbow Terrace:

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Bridgette and a crew of volunteers, including the Cleveland Police Department, worked an extremely long day yesterday picking up and delivering, to Rainbow Terrace residents affected by the fire, donated furniture.

This article appeared today, for those who haven't seen it yet: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2018/04/cleveland_polices_nice_unit_jo.html
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As recently reported, our GoFundMe campaign will close this Friday, April 20, 2018.

On behalf of the Rainbow Terrace residents affected by the fire, we are profoundly grateful for the outpouring of community support. Your donations are a beacon to the families. You, the Cleveland community, have communicated to the families that they are not alone; you have communicated to them that the community stands behind them and no matter how challenging their lives may be at present, there is a path ahead that is brighter and clearer.

Why are we ending the GoFundMe campaign?

Lifelong Learning's staffing at Rainbow Terrace is rather thin -- and with 484 households at the site, Bridgette must be available to serve the needs of all of the families.

At the Learning Center, we endeavor to provide residents with various services and support including GRE preparation, workforce development, a Case Management program together with two local universities and an award-winning after-school program.

Lifelong Learning's after-school program at Rainbow Terrace serves the needs of nearly 70 children, including a crucial hot meal every day.

We can always benefit from committed volunteers to help our students realize academic success. You can read a bit about how volunteering your time can made a HUGE impact on the lives of our resident children:


If after April 20 you want to make a contribution to Lifelong Learning, please visit our website -- llcommunity.org --- give us a call or send us an email and we will get back to you.

Thank you, Cleveland, for all of your support!!!
Bridgette and Candice
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$21,425 of $150,000 goal

Raised by 284 people in 25 days
Created March 26, 2018
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