BOSTON – Like so many people in this region, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was among those touched by the 10-alarm fire in Cambridge earlier this month that fortunately did not come at the cost of any human lives.
But the damage to the homes and property of several Cambridge residents struck a chord with Thomas and his family.
Thomas was aware of the tragedy, but said he wasn’t moved to act until his wife Kayla mentioned that they should do something to help those affected by the fires.
“Right after the incident, she thought of an idea to have something for the families,” Thomas said. “Anything we could possibly do, and if it made sense to do that and put a smile on their faces …they’re going through tough times.”
So he reached out to World Vision, a Christian Humanitarian organization that has helped organize a number of Thomas’ previous community events, which committed to donating gifts for the children.
And that led to getting the City of Cambridge to come on board for Thursday night’s holiday party at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge which donated space, food and beverages to the dozens of families in attendance.
The event was also attended by the Mayor of Cambridge E. Denise Simmons, Cambridge City Manager Louis DePasquale and Royal Sonesta GM Michael Medeiros.
While there has been an outpouring of folks willing to offer various items, Mayor Simmons said the residents affected by the fire have very specific needs.
“It’s really about money and if someone knows of a place where we can currently house a family, that’s what we really need,” said Mayor Simmons. “Material aid, we just can’t take that now. We’re not set up for it. They really need funds so that they can buy their own clothing, their own food and pay their bills.”
Those interested in giving a donation to the Mayor’s Fire Relief Fund, there is a GoFundme account set up which has already raised more than $600,000.
While it was clear that the kids who played games with Thomas at the event certainly left with memories that’ll last a lifetime, Thomas also profited from the experience.
“This is my job; this is what I’m blessed to do,” Thomas said. “I got a platform that I try to use and I try to give back as much as I can to the communities I’m a part of. This is a time of need for these families. I’m just trying to do the best possible job I can to help out.”