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Chappaqua Residents Displaced By Fire Overwhelmed By Donations

Carolyn Sherwin, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, shows a care package given to a four-year-old displaced by a fire. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
The Quaker Hill Tavern employs two of the seven displaced by a fire next door. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
The building housed a ground-floor floral shop and seven people in three apartments on the second floor and attic. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The seven people who lost their apartments in a fire on Friday, April 11, have been inundated with clothing donations at the Quaker Hill Tavern, where two of them work.

The restaurant, just a few hundred feet from their former home, opened up its doors to walk-in donations. With more clothes and other household items than they know what to do with taken in this past weekend, the restaurant is asking those still looking to help for cash donations.

"They're getting phenomenal response," said Carolyn Sherwin, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross, who helped provide assistance to the families. "I think they were getting overwhelmed with the donations because people were coming in with bags and bags."

Like the rest of those displaced, the two Quaker Hill Tavern kitchen workers had been staying at a hotel thanks to the American Red Cross. There was also a couple with a four-year-old child, who Sherwin said received two sweatshirts, some books and granola bars from a Chappaqua mother.

"It was touching, and it's that kind of stuff that really helps everybody at this time," Sherwin said. "And I know it really helps the family."

All of those displaced have found temporary lodging with family or friends after the Red Cross put them up in nearby hotels.

"They've had all this time to regroup and make their plans for the next step. Now they're in transition. A lot of them are with friends, family. Some have already been offered new places to stay," Sherwin said.

Beth Hundgen, owner of the floral shop, Whispering Pines of Chappaqua, Inc., on the ground floor of the building that was damaged in the fire, is looking for a temporary location to operate her business. She has found a few promising leads, but things remain up in the air, according to her son, Stetson.

"A lot of it depends on what's going to happen to our existing location," he said. "If the owner decides to rebuild, and if so, when and the timeline of that project. Really, right now we don't know if we're looking for a temporary location or a more of a permanent location. It's a little bit of what comes first scenario."

Stetson said his mother does know one thing.

"Chappaqua is our home and that's where we're committed to staying," he said.

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