Fina Badolato
For the Times Herald-Record

Imagine the nightmare of your home going up in flames. Unfortunately, an Orange County single mom of two experienced this hardship first-hand when her apartment building was destroyed by fire.
She’d weathered a few rough storms before the fire, including being hospitalized with COVID. But she had worked steadily as circumstances permitted. As lockdown restrictions eased, the woman landed new employment; she’d also taken on a second job.

Immediately following the fire, the Red Cross and a friend provided temporary lodging. The woman worked and saved to move into an apartment of her own, with her two teenaged children. She was able to pay the apartment’s security deposit, but fell short of the first month’s rent.

How could she get herself and her kids into their own apartment, now that her temporary lodging options had ended? Enter the Times Herald-Record’s People for People Fund, which for three decades, has provided one-time, emergency financial assistance to qualified residents of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties in New York, and part of Pike County, Pa. This help is made possible by the generosity of local donors empathetic to the needs of people much like themselves, facing a sudden financial setback.

“It was just an awful time,” the woman recalled. “The fire literally took all of our things … sentimental things, our belongings …” A modest grant from the People for People Fund for one month’s rent was just the thing to help this family get back on track. “I never knew how much the community cared and could actually come through,” she added.

Before this setback, the woman had always done her best to help others in need, teaching her kids to do the same. Now, it was their turn to receive a temporary helping hand.

The “wonderful” people behind the scenes and the generous donors “made me feel cared for, made me feel special,” she said. “They are not in this for the accolades or rewards or praise .. (The Fund) is really a hero without a name. I don’t know who gave; it’s faceless, it could be someone I see in the supermarket. But I do know it’s a group of people who agree that people in the community have needs.

“We’re doing much better now,” she added. “And when I am able, I can still give back to others, even now.”

About the Fund
The Record’s People for People Fund is supported through voluntary donations from community and religious groups, businesses and mostly individuals, with dedicated volunteers working tirelessly with recipients each step of the way. To learn more about contributing, volunteering or applying for help from The Record’s People for People Fund, call 845-343-1663. Donations by check can be mailed to People for People Fund, /o First Federal Savings of Middletown, P.O. Box 2023, Middletown, N 10940. Donations by credit card can be made via The Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan NY at, by searching for Record’s People for People Fund.