Nora and Matt Brooks, an East Village couple whose apartment was destroyed in yesterday’s fire, have managed to raise over $11,000 in 14 hours from just over 200 donors.
Their page on GoFundMe, a popular personal fundraising website, states that in addition to the losses of furniture and household goods, the couple both lost the tools of their livelihoods. Mr. Brooks, who has worked as a set-dresser for Laika and is a veteran puppet builder for the Jim Henson Company, “lost power tools, cameras, professional lighting, hand tools and several valuable puppets,” said the fundraising appeal. Mrs. Brooks is an MFA student at The New School and a writer whose poetry has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry blog; all her books were also lost in the fire.
Of the 200 (and counting) donations, approximately 75 percent have been under $100, with many even as small as $10. Support has come from a wide network of friends and friends-of-friends, according to Jessica Glenn, who established the page on behalf of the Brookses. Glenn, a book publicist in Oregon, is close to Mrs. Brooks, who she described as “a really beloved member of the arts community in Oregon.”
“They’re both sort of this amazing, creative couple,” said Glenn. “[Mrs. Brooks] really sounds in shock, and she got this outpouring of support, which is not surprising.” People were eager to help, so Glenn, knowing that any donations of physical goods would simply be too overwhelming, started the cash campaign. Her original goal was to raise $5,000, which she then upped to $10,000. The goal has just been increased again, to $15,000. Mr. Brooks was at work on a web series, “The Prana Piranha Show,” which Glenn describes as featuring beautiful, detailed, creative sets. “It’s so hard to imagine that that whole world is gone,” she said.
The Daily Beast reported that the Brookses were at the Met when the explosion occurred. Their roommate was unable to save their cat before escaping the fire.