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Benefit Party Raises Thousands for Hoboken Fire Victims

The party, at Room 84 on Friday, raised more than $16,000 for the 17 displaced residents of 300 Washington Street.

Two weeks after a and displaced 17 residents, hundreds of generous Hobokenites raised more than $16,000 during a benefit party Friday night at Room 84. Guests donated at the door and bid on dozens of auction items inside.

Rory Chadwick, owner of clothing consignment store , organized the benefit, similar to the one he put together in December for the victims of a .

“At one point in my life I had nothing," Chadwick said, "so to see people in a similar situation I felt a need to do something so that they don't suffer."

Several volunteers helped organize. Chadwick also coordinated with Joe Branco, who again offered his nightclub as a venue and gave a free drink to every guest who donated at the door.

Branco said he has known one of the displaced residents, Tiffany Shenman, for 12 years. Shenman, a teacher and realtor, also runs the . She owned a fourth-floor apartment with her boyfriend Fred Volze.

“As soon as I heard of the fire I automatically knew that Tiffany lived there,” Branco said. “It's a tribute to have an event here for someone like her who exemplifies what it means to be a Hobokenite.”

Several of the displaced residents attended the benefit party, including Stacey Molski and Caroline Madrak, who rented an apartment together on the third floor.

“There aren't even words to say thank you,” Molski said. “We never expected this kind of reaction from strangers.”

“I've been telling people that this really shows what Hoboken is as a community,” Madrak said.

Shenman agreed. “We always loved Hoboken," she said, "and now we know that Hoboken loves us back."

The Rotary club of Hoboken assumed control of the collection effort using its official and regulated charitable status.

Branco, who is also a Rotarian, said that the club is forming a rapid response committee to deal with future disasters. “If there's ever another fire in town," Branco said, "we jump in."

Mayor Dawn Zimmer, also in attendance on Friday night, praised the volunteers who organized the benefit and the residents who donated. 

Guests to the benefit bid on several silent and live auction items, many of which were donated by local businesses such as , and .

Among the live auction items, dinner for four at the with Big Brother contestant and Hoboken resident Adam Poch sold for $225; a Rutgers football game package including luxury seating for four sold for $600; dinner with Real Housewives of New Jersey cast members Albie Manzo, Chris Manzo and Greg Bennett sold for $300; an original painting of 300 Washington Street created by artist Ricardo Roig sold for $600; and tickets to see Bruce Springsteen sold for $1000.

Chadwick said that several stores will keep cash donation jars on their counters for another week, which the Rotary will then collect. Chadwick said the next step in the aid effort is to organize a furniture drive for the displaced residents once they settle into new homes.

HobokenDad March 05, 2012 at 12:22 PM
All involved should be commended for their kind efforts.
Rory Chadwick March 05, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Joe Mindak of hMag magazine was also one of the organizers of the event, and was not mentioned in the story. Joe played a gigantic role in making the night happen. The volunteers who have helped make this happen for the 13 days should also be mentioned. Everyone had a major part in making the event happen and I am ecstatic the event was a success. Thanks Hoboken!!
hobokenhorse.com March 05, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Great job for a great cause in our community. Da Horsey salutes all of you!
NICK March 05, 2012 at 06:33 PM
HOBOKEN BAR AND GRILL WHICH IS AT WASH AND 3RD DONATED AS WELL AS OTHERS. THEY SHOULD ALL BE MENTIONED.
Rory Chadwick March 05, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Nick I am working on a post for everyone that gave. I believe the writer mentioned what they could granted there were about 100 items. I don't think its intentional.
Deborah Hulbert March 05, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Rory Chadwick, Joe Branco, Joe Mindak and countless others who really stepped up to the plate and reminded us all of what being part of a caring community means. Thank you Rory, Joe and Joe and countless other volunteers who made the Fund Raising event at Room 84 for the fire victims of 300 Washington Street such a great sucess. The City of Hoboken owes you a great debt of gratitude. Thank you again!
Laurie Michelson March 06, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Thanks again Rory and Joe and everyone involved!
Patty Drumgoole March 06, 2012 at 05:11 PM
This is so amazing!!! I wish I had known about it. I want so badly to help and give. Rory, please tell me how you got the word out about this event. I missed the fundraiser at the W too. What am I not doing or where am I not looking/reading to find out about these types of awesome efforts??? I read in the article there is a furniture drive in the making. I have so many pieces I'd love to donate. PLEASE tell me how to get involved in that. Hoboken High School did a fundraiser collecting money and toiletries but I'd like to do more. I met Bethany & Kevin, victims who lost their 2 darling cats in the fire. They adopted 2 new guys from Companion Animal Placement in town....I believe Roger & Elliot are offering much needed consolation and companionship during this time to their family. Kudos to every single one of you!!!!

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