The morning of December 13th, a devastating fire ripped through the heart of our neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens, destroying six businesses and leaving dozens of employees out of work in the middle of the holidays. All six businesses were members of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, an organization that works to promote, beautify, and invigorate the commercial district of Sunnyside, Queens. In the days following the fire, Sunnyside Shines, together with a wide consortium of community partners, businesses, individuals, and elected officials spearheaded a response campaign to help ensure a safety net for the displaced employees of the businesses affected by the December 13th Sunnyside fire. Some of the initial response included a community fundraiser, creation of a job bank, and an emergency resource fair. But perhaps the most remarkable response has come in the form of donations from those who wish to help workers displaced as a result of the fire; as of December 27th, over $150,000 has been raised to provide emergency, short-term relief to the more than 90 individuals who have registered their interest in the fund. Sunnyside Shines has agreed to steward these funds, ensuring institutional transparency and oversight in the collection, management, and distribution of relief funding.
As a result of this powerful response to the December 13th fire, Sunnyside Shines is proud to announce the creation of the Sunnyside Shines Business Community Disaster Program. This is a program that can be activated by the Sunnyside Shines Board of Directors’ Executive Committee in response to events that significantly impact the Business District of the neighborhood, in an effort to provide short-term relief to those individuals suffering a loss of income or interest in the Business District due to a specific disaster. The Sunnyside Shines Fire Relief Fund is the first activation of this new program. “We are deeply appreciative of the trust our community has placed in us to ensure that their gifts to the Fire Relief Fund are disbursed to employees who were affected by the December 13th fire,” notes Sunnyside Shines Executive Director Jaime-Faye Bean. “The Business Community Disaster Program gives our community reassurance that in the future, we stand ready to provide an organized, well-managed response to events that impact our District.”
Sunnyside Shines has published a detailed overview of the Sunnyside Shines Fire Relief Fund guidelines on their website, and has asked that any individuals who may have a potential interest in the fund register via an online form. These details and links to the form can be found at www.sunnysideshines.org/firerelieffund.