Family overwhelmed, prepared to give back, after outpouring of community support following devastating fire

TOWN OF NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A family that lost everything after a devastating fire consumed the family’s home is reacting to the community’s rally behind their cause.

Numerous community members of all ages came together to donate a father and his three young children after their home went up in flames. Adults donated new toys and money, but one of the most touching tributes became the number of children who brought their toys and clothing that they knew another family could use more.

To the Monnen family, the support was a meaningful gift, filled with memories and cherished items they thought they wouldn’t get back.

“This is two days later — it was an immediate response. While it was on fire, a gentleman, Derek, came up. Don’t know who he is, but he came up and said, ‘I’ll take you and your family right now to the store and buy you anything you need,'” Carl Monnen, who lost everything but his family in the flames, said. “He had lost a home too. Strangers off the street would give you the coat off their back. I would never expect that in a million years, the generosity of this area is astounding.”

In the days that would follow the fire, the community support grew even more. One donation in particular touched the heart of one of his young girls, who received for Christmas a blue dress from the movie frozen. The dress, lost in the fire, was replaced by a young girl who saw the Monnen family’s story. She hadn’t even opened her dress before offering to give it away.

Family representatives say a young boy even used money from his piggy bank to replace toys lost in the flames.

The Monnen family said they’re overwhelmed and touched by the support, and are ready to give back to other families in need.

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