At 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, most FDU students were still in bed, enjoying a late start or a quiet day off from classes. In Union, N.J., however, the Conforti family’s lives were changed when a four-alarm fire broke out in the basement of their two-family home.
Firefighters were finally able to get the blaze under control around 1:30 p.m.
Luckily, no one was injured, but in the span of a few hours, the fire had destroyed the Confortis’ home and all of their possessions.
Michael, Lupe and their two children, Nestor, 12, and Rita Maria, 6, were left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing on the morning of the disaster.
For FDU sophomore Kristen Scioscia, the disaster was more than just a stranger’s sad story – the Confortis are her family.
“Right now, they are staying with family members until they find housing,” Scioscia said. “They’ve had some help through fundraisers through their schools and the community, but really right now they have nothing.”
Scioscia decided to rally the College at Florham’s clubs and organizations to help raise money for the family.
Scioscia, who is also the president of the Proud Italian Student Association (PISA), decided on a carnival-like fair in the Student Center, where students could purchase snacks, play games and donate to the cause.
At 8 p.m. on Feb. 23, three weeks after the fire, several FDU organizations set up and decorated tables.
The Student Volunteer Association’s (SVA) table featured three bowls where students could place raffle tickets to win gift cards for places like Best Buy and Dunkin Donuts. The raffle tickets were handed out as prizes for students who shot at targets with suction-cup darts.
SVA President Danielle Dombro felt that it was important to come out and support the cause.
“PISA approached SVA about setting up a table at the fundraiser,” said Dombro. “Kristen is one of my good friends, so I was happy to help.”
In addition to SVA, tables were manned by PISA, the Asian Culture Club, and the brothers of Zeta Beta Tau.
Theta Phi Alpha and Sigma Chi did not attend the fundraiser, but both showed their support by donating clothing.
For three hours, students came to the Student Center mall to purchase bags of chips and candies, play games and listen to music, all the while knowing that all proceeds would go directly to the Conforti family.
Through the course of the evening, Scioscia and the participating organizations raised $209.80.
Josephine Spina, an adjunct faculty member in Becton College, donated enough to bring the total to an even $250.