NYC Fire Homeless Single Mom/3 Kids

$100,863 of $200,000 goal

Raised by 1,362 people in 41 months
Diane McLean
on behalf of Diane McLean
 NEW YORK, NY
All it takes is one moment for your entire life to go up in flames. Literally. On March 26th at 3:17 PM, an explosion rang down 2nd Avenue. The building around the corner from my apartment - my home where I've lived for 36 years, since I was a graduate student in 1979 - went up in flames. Within hours,  the home I always knew, the home where I've lived alone with my 3 children - Rose, 8, and twins James and Annabelle, 5 - was gone.

My name is Diane McLean and I am a single mom with three kids trying everything in my power to figure out how to possibly reconstruct the life I had in the East Village for more than 3 decades. I work with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers in the South Bronx at a city hospital in order to help underserved kids. My job is more than a job - it has been a calling and vocation to help low-income families with kids who struggle with mental and behavioral health  problems such as trauma, depression, ADHD, and learning disorders. I talk to kids every day about finding goodness in the world - it's all I ever wanted to do.

Today, I had to tell my kids about the courageous firemen who did everything they could to save their beds, scooters, stuffed animals, the piano they always practiced at after school, the finger-paintings they made in Kindergarten, the place that my 5-year-old James once proclaimed was "the greatest place on Earth!"

I am a single mom of three precious children who I've raised on my own with the help of student-babysitters and nannies. The fact that I had lived in this rent-stabilized apartment since the 70's made it possible for me to raise my children in the wonderfully diverse East Village neighborhood that has so long been my home. I never made the steps to buy rental's insurance because I needed to raise my kids. Please help me in my attempt to rebuild my life in the community where my children were born and attend school. This community is everything to them and to me. We walk down 2nd Avenue, St. Mark's Place, to Tompkins Square Park and we always see friends and neighbors waving hello.

Any donation - even the smallest bit - could help me rebuild this entire world for my kids who - in one fell swoop - went to school one day and came home to rubble. We have lost clothes, family heirlooms, nearly every photograph we own, computers and loved toys,  the piano I grew up playing in the 60's, one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture from the 40's, artwork dating back before I was born, my grandmother's fine china and silver, pottery handmade by my elderly mother, my late-father's guitar. Everything that felt so familiar and now feels so very significant.

We have lost everything but each other, our friends, and our family. Please share this with people you know, people you don't, and remember that we are still holding onto the goodness I try to always instill in my kids. That's what makes me hopeful.


Below is a photo of all that remains of the space that was once our home. Only with the generosity of you all can we possibly rebuild.

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Hey everyone, looks like we’re halfway to our goal! We’re so grateful for everyone who has supported the family and here’s a recap for new visitors to the fund:

- Diane and her three young children, Rose, 8, and twins James and Annabelle, 5, lost their home and all of their possessions in a single day to the devastating East Village Fire that affected numerous families. The McLeans lost not only their home of 35 years, but everything that existed inside it: decades of memories, generations of heirlooms, family history, beds, clothes, and every last possession that they hadn’t taken with them on a normal Thursday morning going to work and school. They went to school and work and came back to nothing. You can read more of Diane’s story told by her in the About This Campaign section at the bottom of this page.

- Now, we’re at the halfway mark and Diane is still desperately searching for a safe, affordable, and permanent home that can provide a sense of stability and security to the lives of her children. The outpouring of support from friends, family, and community has been wonderful and made a huge difference in the family’s ability to cope with such devastating loss. However, the kids are finding it increasingly difficult to sleep alone at night. They often wonder where they will stay next until they can find a home in which they can settle and create a future.

Every last donation – even the ones that feel so small – truly mean the world and will help the McLean Family establish a new home. Diane reads every single message and comment, carrying your good wishes with her throughout the day. She reads them to the kids so that they know that more than a thousand people have reached out to help them.

At the park, 2 blocks from the old home
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Hello, all! It's Katarina, again. We are so incredibly overwhelmed by everyone's kindness, thoughtful messages, and well wishes that we don't even know where to begin.

First of all, thank you so much for all the clothes, toys, bedding, etc. We finally found a place to store all the wonderful donations that people have sent in. The selflessness of others and incredible generosity of you all have been humbling and we are very grateful. Every message and even the tiniest donation has warmed the hearts of this family during this time.

At the moment, Diane is looking for short-term and long-term, affordable housing in NYC that will allow the kids to continue to attend their local school and remain close to their community. Any leads on affordable housing where this family can regain a sense of normalcy and sleep in beds that feel like their own are most appreciated.

In addition, we really want to take this opportunity to highlight other families affected by this fire - they are every bit a part of the East Village community that Diane and the kids so dearly love, so please take some time and consider donating to them as well. Truly - every little bit helps!

For Diane's neighbor, Mildred Guy: http://www.gofundme.com/q8ee3a4

For Nora and Matt Brooks: http://www.gofundme.com/helpNoraBrooks

For Diane's neighbor Kim-Nora Moses: http://www.gofundme.com/KimMoses

For McKenzie: http://www.gofundme.com/q5cczcc

For Diane's neighbors, Norman, Chelsea & Micha: http://www.gofundme.com/q5vbbw4

For some students: http://www.gofundme.com/q5rebb4

For Elizabeth Dimond: http://www.gofundme.com/q59accgg

For Justin and Chris: http://www.gofundme.com/q5apbw

Finally, thanks so much to everyone at Yahoo! Parenting for reaching out to us and helping tell this story to a bigger audience: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/astonishing-kindness-after-fire-leaves-single-115135235432.html

Also, we love this heart-warming piece from the great writers at People Magazine: http://www.people.com/article/diane-mclean-new-york-city-east-village-fire

Thanks to Pix11 for also showing their support: http://pix11.com/2015/03/31/single-mom-of-three-loses-rent-stabilized-apartment-in-east-village-explosion/

Here, we have precious James, 5, explaining to us what's so great about this fund:
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Hello everyone!

This is Katarina - one of Diane's babysitters who has worked with the family for years. We are so completely overwhelmed by the love and support we have received these past few days and owe SO much to all you wonderful people. The compassion and generosity of the community, friends, and even people we don't know is truly astonishing.

We are trying to reach out to everyone who has offered help and getting a little overwhelmed in the process - Diane is still working 6 days a week in the middle of all this - but we will get back to everyone eventually.

As of now, Diane still doesn't have a permanent address for people to send clothing, book, and toy donations, but we are looking into storage spaces; once we have that, we'll let you all know.

Again, no words will suffice for how thankful we all are for your support. Only through your generosity and sharing of this fund will we succeed. For now, here are some photos from Coney Island this past summer to remind us of the preciousness of family. We have so much hope for the future.
Annabelle, 5, Rose, 8, James, 5, & Diane
Annabelle & James on the beach
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Read a Previous Update
Shawn G. Chittle
40 months ago
3
3

Those precious little faces are just too much for me to handle. I just had to donate for those little kids. Hope they can smile again soon!

+ Read More
Katy Did
41 months ago
3
3

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/astonishing-kindness-after-fire-leaves-single-115135235432.html this article states she is a child psychiatrist at a hospital. She isn't a minimum wage worker who didn't have the funds to pay for renter's insurance, but chose to probably pay for IVF to have these kids after the age of 50 and live in a rent controlled apt for 36 yrs. Now she is relying on the tear jerker headline of homeless mom & 3 kids to fund her next move.

+ Read More
Vanessa Swidowski
40 months ago
1
1

Edie fyi just because she is a proffessional with a good job ,living in subsidized housing does not mean she can afford renters insurance! She probably pays the full amount of rent and makes just enough to survive! I suggest people like you do some research before you tun your mouth about something you know nothing about! I know quite a few people who are on section 8, or in subsidized housing and pay full amount of rent plus utilities! Not EVERYONE abuses the system!

+ Read More
Richard Lopez
40 months ago
1
1

I actually have someone in my DeVry class that told me about your families tragedy! It was so sad when she told me, it was terrible... :( I'm sorry for the loss of your homes! I’m new at this gofundme and I’m not really sure how this works but I see everyone posting on other accounts about their own account. I’m going to try it out and see the outcome... I am the wife of Richard Lopez and I am raising money for him to graduate from school with his Bachelor’s degree. He has been struggling with money since he first started school but then got some loans. He has been getting straight A’s, is the President of the Program, got a scholarship to become an MD. BUT the school won’t give him anymore loans and needs to pay his clinical, which are $6,000 in order for him to obtain his diploma. I’m helping my husband raise this money since we are in need of it for many different causes. ALL of your generosity will be so much appreciated, thank you!

+ Read More
Anastasia Chebotareva
40 months ago
1
1

Same thing happened with me 3 years ago, (neighbor cause fire in the middle of the night and our townhome next to it ruined) and I'll say, not only my kid but I am have nightmares after that, and I still have unusual interest in automatic fire extinguishers even now, 3 years later... its tough experience, so better have renters or owners insurance. (We did, in NV it doesn't cost much but HELPS A LOT, believe me, because even if fire not in your house, damage is huge and you will need lot of money). But insurance doesn't cover hospital bills and babysitter bills what I got after inhaled smoke cause pneumonia week later... I just finish paying them off, they huge. All people with negative comments just never imagine how hard that experience can be, being affected by fire... and how different and complicated all that - when you feel sick, and scared, and no simple household items, and documents lost or damaged... no insurance can help with that. Good luck for that family, I wish them recover soon!

+ Read More
Ona Martini
40 months ago
1
1

I am wishing all the best and hope you reach your goal... My Name is Don Martini, I had to use my wife's Facebook to leave you a message. I have posted your link on my gofundme page and sent it to ALL my friends and family. Hang in there and I know with everyone's help you will be back on your feet again in no time. Good Luck and my heart goes out to you and your family. I have set my donation for recurring in hopes to help you more than what I was able to do this time. Take care and I will keep you and your kids in my prayers.

+ Read More
Vanessa Robins
23 months ago

Can someone help my family out too PLEASE

+ Read More
Trey Horton
40 months ago

Hello everyone My name is Trey Horton I've been an independent dancer for over more than 7yrs from xenia Ohio I graduated 2013 from xhs I've been running a fundraiser since March 6 2015 the fundraiser is for a hip hop dance studio where all kids of any age even adults I'll be going to new York to finish my choreography classes if any of You could please just Vist my page click the GOFUNDME link and click donate and fill out your card info and your blessings and donation will be very greatful #teamfantastic so far we have made $120 our goal to build the dance studio Is 20k but we'll make that soon with our teamwork and best wishes to your family and all prayers are sent as well

+ Read More
Juliet Jeske
41 months ago

My heart goes out to you and your family. Raising three kids by yourself is difficult under any circumstances. I hope you find a new home soon. I wish I could give more. New Yorkers support their own! We've been through enough disaster in this city to know that we're all in this together. The negative comments on here are appalling. Good luck to you, and much love to your family.

+ Read More
Daria DeBuono
41 months ago

Florida. Of course. Keep your business down there, please. Up here in NYC we help our neighbors out.

+ Read More
Leslie Figueroa
41 months ago

To those leaving negative comments: if you have nothing nice to say, anything that's worth saying or anything with value and knowledge, take your rotten butts somewhere else and put your thoughts in your rear :)

+ Read More
Kayla Frey
41 months ago

I see alot of negetive comments in this page. This woman was my sons doctor when we lived in the south bronx shes a wonderfull woman with a big heart. Have any of u lived in new york??? Do you know how expensive it is. She just lost everything she owned if you dont have anything kind to say dont say anything at all

+ Read More
Hank Forero
41 months ago

Thanks to all who don't feel the need to be cynical. Haters are always going to hate. Peace be with them.

+ Read More
Thomas Begley
41 months ago

Edie, don't yuck my yum!

+ Read More
Margaret Cubria
41 months ago

Edie tragedy is unplanned, and to compare New York to Florida is two different ways of living. For one it's called the cost of living is 3xs the amount in New York. It's also clear you don't understand

+ Read More
Kat Manos
41 months ago

Re: Edie Garcia -- Sorry that you feel the need to comment on not helping the McLean's. Luckily many many many people have disagreed with you. Also, rent-stabilized housing is not subsidized housing from the government, but rent that is literally stabilized by a landlord who owns the building - feel free to Google it if you are confused. Good luck out in Florida!

+ Read More
Edie Garcia
41 months ago

I'm sorry, but I cannot contribute to this family. She is a professional, college graduate living in New York City without renter's insurance in ??? Seriously, in subsidized housing? In our area in Florida, we have to make it on our own without help from the government...and proud to say that we sacrifice to do so

+ Read More
Helen Ryan
41 months ago

Hi Diane, My name is Helen and I live in NJ and I would love it if you could contact me via face book. I am deeply sorry that you lost so many precious things. If you could make it out to NJ I would be grateful if you could take a set of china or anything else before the estate sale that I will be having. You are welcome to as many things as you would like as my late mom would be happy that someone would be able to use and love her treasures. I know it is not the same, but she would love it. Please contact me.

+ Read More
Linda Israel
41 months ago

FREECYCLE.COM... SIGN UP FOR IT.. THEY HAVE FREE AND GENTLY USED ITEMS IN YOUR AREA JUST TYPE IN YOUR ZIP CODE AND TELL THEM WHAT YOU ARE SEEKING.. THEY WILL HOOK YOU UP TO SOME VERY GENEROUS AND KIND PEOPLE.. GOOD LUCK.. PS THEY HAVE EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF.. TRY IT.. GOOGLE IT IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE.. ITS A GREAT CONNECTION TO HAVE..

+ Read More

$100,863 of $200,000 goal

Raised by 1,362 people in 41 months
Created March 27, 2015
Diane McLean
on behalf of Diane McLean
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francisca vargas
33 months ago (Monthly Donation)
Shawn G. Chittle
40 months ago
3
3

Those precious little faces are just too much for me to handle. I just had to donate for those little kids. Hope they can smile again soon!

+ Read More
Katy Did
41 months ago
3
3

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/astonishing-kindness-after-fire-leaves-single-115135235432.html this article states she is a child psychiatrist at a hospital. She isn't a minimum wage worker who didn't have the funds to pay for renter's insurance, but chose to probably pay for IVF to have these kids after the age of 50 and live in a rent controlled apt for 36 yrs. Now she is relying on the tear jerker headline of homeless mom & 3 kids to fund her next move.

+ Read More
Vanessa Swidowski
40 months ago
1
1

Edie fyi just because she is a proffessional with a good job ,living in subsidized housing does not mean she can afford renters insurance! She probably pays the full amount of rent and makes just enough to survive! I suggest people like you do some research before you tun your mouth about something you know nothing about! I know quite a few people who are on section 8, or in subsidized housing and pay full amount of rent plus utilities! Not EVERYONE abuses the system!

+ Read More
Richard Lopez
40 months ago
1
1

I actually have someone in my DeVry class that told me about your families tragedy! It was so sad when she told me, it was terrible... :( I'm sorry for the loss of your homes! I’m new at this gofundme and I’m not really sure how this works but I see everyone posting on other accounts about their own account. I’m going to try it out and see the outcome... I am the wife of Richard Lopez and I am raising money for him to graduate from school with his Bachelor’s degree. He has been struggling with money since he first started school but then got some loans. He has been getting straight A’s, is the President of the Program, got a scholarship to become an MD. BUT the school won’t give him anymore loans and needs to pay his clinical, which are $6,000 in order for him to obtain his diploma. I’m helping my husband raise this money since we are in need of it for many different causes. ALL of your generosity will be so much appreciated, thank you!

+ Read More
Anastasia Chebotareva
40 months ago
1
1

Same thing happened with me 3 years ago, (neighbor cause fire in the middle of the night and our townhome next to it ruined) and I'll say, not only my kid but I am have nightmares after that, and I still have unusual interest in automatic fire extinguishers even now, 3 years later... its tough experience, so better have renters or owners insurance. (We did, in NV it doesn't cost much but HELPS A LOT, believe me, because even if fire not in your house, damage is huge and you will need lot of money). But insurance doesn't cover hospital bills and babysitter bills what I got after inhaled smoke cause pneumonia week later... I just finish paying them off, they huge. All people with negative comments just never imagine how hard that experience can be, being affected by fire... and how different and complicated all that - when you feel sick, and scared, and no simple household items, and documents lost or damaged... no insurance can help with that. Good luck for that family, I wish them recover soon!

+ Read More
Ona Martini
40 months ago
1
1

I am wishing all the best and hope you reach your goal... My Name is Don Martini, I had to use my wife's Facebook to leave you a message. I have posted your link on my gofundme page and sent it to ALL my friends and family. Hang in there and I know with everyone's help you will be back on your feet again in no time. Good Luck and my heart goes out to you and your family. I have set my donation for recurring in hopes to help you more than what I was able to do this time. Take care and I will keep you and your kids in my prayers.

+ Read More
Vanessa Robins
23 months ago

Can someone help my family out too PLEASE

+ Read More
Trey Horton
40 months ago

Hello everyone My name is Trey Horton I've been an independent dancer for over more than 7yrs from xenia Ohio I graduated 2013 from xhs I've been running a fundraiser since March 6 2015 the fundraiser is for a hip hop dance studio where all kids of any age even adults I'll be going to new York to finish my choreography classes if any of You could please just Vist my page click the GOFUNDME link and click donate and fill out your card info and your blessings and donation will be very greatful #teamfantastic so far we have made $120 our goal to build the dance studio Is 20k but we'll make that soon with our teamwork and best wishes to your family and all prayers are sent as well

+ Read More
Juliet Jeske
41 months ago

My heart goes out to you and your family. Raising three kids by yourself is difficult under any circumstances. I hope you find a new home soon. I wish I could give more. New Yorkers support their own! We've been through enough disaster in this city to know that we're all in this together. The negative comments on here are appalling. Good luck to you, and much love to your family.

+ Read More
Daria DeBuono
41 months ago

Florida. Of course. Keep your business down there, please. Up here in NYC we help our neighbors out.

+ Read More
Leslie Figueroa
41 months ago

To those leaving negative comments: if you have nothing nice to say, anything that's worth saying or anything with value and knowledge, take your rotten butts somewhere else and put your thoughts in your rear :)

+ Read More
Kayla Frey
41 months ago

I see alot of negetive comments in this page. This woman was my sons doctor when we lived in the south bronx shes a wonderfull woman with a big heart. Have any of u lived in new york??? Do you know how expensive it is. She just lost everything she owned if you dont have anything kind to say dont say anything at all

+ Read More
Hank Forero
41 months ago

Thanks to all who don't feel the need to be cynical. Haters are always going to hate. Peace be with them.

+ Read More
Thomas Begley
41 months ago

Edie, don't yuck my yum!

+ Read More
Margaret Cubria
41 months ago

Edie tragedy is unplanned, and to compare New York to Florida is two different ways of living. For one it's called the cost of living is 3xs the amount in New York. It's also clear you don't understand

+ Read More
Kat Manos
41 months ago

Re: Edie Garcia -- Sorry that you feel the need to comment on not helping the McLean's. Luckily many many many people have disagreed with you. Also, rent-stabilized housing is not subsidized housing from the government, but rent that is literally stabilized by a landlord who owns the building - feel free to Google it if you are confused. Good luck out in Florida!

+ Read More
Edie Garcia
41 months ago

I'm sorry, but I cannot contribute to this family. She is a professional, college graduate living in New York City without renter's insurance in ??? Seriously, in subsidized housing? In our area in Florida, we have to make it on our own without help from the government...and proud to say that we sacrifice to do so

+ Read More
Helen Ryan
41 months ago

Hi Diane, My name is Helen and I live in NJ and I would love it if you could contact me via face book. I am deeply sorry that you lost so many precious things. If you could make it out to NJ I would be grateful if you could take a set of china or anything else before the estate sale that I will be having. You are welcome to as many things as you would like as my late mom would be happy that someone would be able to use and love her treasures. I know it is not the same, but she would love it. Please contact me.

+ Read More
Linda Israel
41 months ago

FREECYCLE.COM... SIGN UP FOR IT.. THEY HAVE FREE AND GENTLY USED ITEMS IN YOUR AREA JUST TYPE IN YOUR ZIP CODE AND TELL THEM WHAT YOU ARE SEEKING.. THEY WILL HOOK YOU UP TO SOME VERY GENEROUS AND KIND PEOPLE.. GOOD LUCK.. PS THEY HAVE EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF.. TRY IT.. GOOGLE IT IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE.. ITS A GREAT CONNECTION TO HAVE..

+ Read More
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