TORONTO – A Brampton man says his family has seen “nothing but positivity” after losing their home in a fire earlier this month.
Emmanuel Teji lived with his mother and sister at 9 Darras Court until a massive blaze ripped through the townhouse complex on December 12, displacing eight families and destroying homes.
Teji’s mother Parveen Thaper was unable to afford home insurance, so the family wasn’t covered for its losses.
READ MORE: Massive fire rips through town house complex in Brampton, 8 homes destroyed
Standing outside the wreckage of their home the next day, Teji and his sister started a GoFundMe campaign, typing on his phone and taking turns to keep their fingers warm, he said.
In just over a week, the campaign has raised over $22,000, surpassing its $20,000 goal with donations from friends and strangers alike.
One family gave $700 instead of doing a family gift exchange.
“It’s just great to know that there are so many people out there willing to support you and sometimes people you don’t know,” Teji said.
Teji said the family plans to use the money for rent until their home is livable again, but says they plan to save much of it to give back to the community.
“A lot of that money is going to be put back,” he said.
“We’re deciding how do we use this best so we can get back up as a family, but also how to give back to people. The best thing to do right now is put that money aside and save it until we’re in a better place.”
An artist and filmmaker, Teji lost upwards of $10,000 in camera equipment as well, but he says the manufacturer Panasonic may replace much of it.
Teji says the outpouring of generosity has “really taught us the value of giving” and wants to thank everyone who contributed to helping the family get back on its feet.
“It’s just been a lot of positivity and I have no words aside from just thank you, thank you so much,” he said. “I don’t know what else to say, we appreciate it way more than people can even imagine.”