Donations being sought to help rebuild Richmond St. home

 

 

Janice Taylor (left) is heading fundraising efforts to try and rebuild the home of Sandra and Chris Sampogna. She is starting to gain community support.

Janice Taylor (left) is heading fundraising efforts to try and rebuild the home of Sandra and Chris Sampogna. She is starting to gain community support.

By Ron Giofu

 

Damaged in a fire over two years ago, the home at 220 Richmond St. sits with a number of things still needing to be fixed.

It’s owners, Chris and Sandra Sampogna, are trying to repair the home but with the money from the insurance company not enough to pay for a mounting list of problems, the Sampognas have fallen on hard times.

“If you ever saw the movie ‘The Money Pit,’ that’s what we have,” said Chris.

When repairs started to be made, the couple kept finding more things wrong with the home from bad plumbing, to bad wiring to flooring and roof problems among other issues. The couple and their three teenage boys have been slowly trying to make repairs to the four bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom home but money is tight and the need great.

“We kept finding more and more stuff,” said Sandra.

Calling it a “nightmare” to get the home back in shape, Chris admitted it is embarrassing to have people look at it as they go by. The home features exposed studs and sheets of plywood used as doors on the inside and, to add to their problems, Chris has a medical condition affecting his legs making it difficult for him to stand at points as well as arthritis that is developing in his knees. While he is able to work, he said much of his weekend time is spent resting so he can return to work the next week. Sandra had a job to try and help out, but lost that when the business she worked for went into different hands.

“It’s been challenging,” he said of the family’s ordeal since the May 2013 fire. The family has lived in a hotel, a trailer and finally back into the home now that it is structurally sound.

The Sampogna family has spent seven years in the Richmond St. home, after purchasing it from his parents who owned it since 1989. They admit they have thought about moving but the mortgage they have on the home makes it financially difficult for them to sell. The couple also does not want to uproot their children from their current schools.

Neighbours have been patient, he added, stating they are satisfied when they see progress to the home.

The couple’s children know the children of Janice Taylor and when Taylor befriended the Sampognas, the wheels were put in motion to try and help the family. Taylor, who runs the non-profit fundraising company Taylor’d Independence, was picking up Chris and Sandra’s sons to help with another fundraiser she was doing and struck up a conversation about helping out. Things have grown from there, though they are looking for more help.

Sampogna house2

Wanting to change the image of the house from “that house on Richmond St.” to “the Sampogna’s home,” Taylor has started a page on the crowd sourcing website www.gofund.me.com under the title “Let’s Fix that House.”

Taylor has also found a local realtor, a local builder and an Amherstburg church willing to help with repairs and refinancing, though it has yet to be determined whether the home can be repaired or whether it will have to be torn down and a new home rebuilt on the site. She said she was asked to keep the identities of the professionals from being stated publicly at this point while it is still being determined what needs to be done and how much it might cost.

Fundraising dinners may be held, Taylor added, but in the meantime they are looking for donations of cash and building materials to help the family.

“You can be anonymous,” she said. “We need money and raw materials.”

Donations can be made at the GoFundMe page – the direct link being www.gofundme.com/xu6wek68 – or by contacting Taylor by phone (519-564-2581) or e-mail (taylord.independence@gmail.com.)

Cheques can also be mailed to Taylor’d Independence, 282 Richmond St., Amherstburg, Ontario, N9V 1G8.

“It feels weird,” Chris said of having someone fundraise for them. “I’ve never had anyone help me before.”

“It’s overwhelming,” Sandra added.

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