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Community rallies with support after Upper Freehold family loses home in fire

UPPER FREEHOLD – After losing their home to a fire, an Upper Freehold Township family that includes two staff members and one student in the Upper Freehold Regional School District is receiving assistance from the community.

Firefighters employed by the Hope Fire Company, which serves Upper Freehold Township and Allentown, reported they responded to a fire on April 22 at the home of the DeRisi family. They said the fire resulted in the DeRisis losing their home, their belongings and their two pet dogs.

Mike DeRisi, his wife, Kim, and their daughter all have direct connections to Upper Freehold Regional.

Mike DeRisi is a football coach at Allentown High School, Kim DeRisi is an art teacher at the Newell Elementary School and their daughter is an eighth grade student at the Stone Bridge Middle School, according to the firefighters.

“Our organization is all about helping the community,” the firefighters wrote in a social media post. “The DeRisi family is just like us and very involved in the township, both on the field and in the classroom. We want to help this family as much as we can.”

The firefighters said Kim DeRisi is an artist. To assist the family, the firefighters are accepting donations of art supplies and gift cards. Donations may be brought to the Hope Fire Company, 82 Route 526, Upper Freehold.

An online fundraiser has been established by the 5Help Foundation to assist the family with immediate needs. Visit 5help.networkforgood.com/projects/129766-fire-destroys-allentown-coach-teacher-s-home

The amount being sought for the family is $7,500. As of April 29, $7,360 had been donated.

“The overwhelming amount of support the DeRisi family is getting is a testament to the entire Upper Freehold Regional community,” Superintendent of Schools Mark Guterl said. “Whether it is our staff, administrative team, Board of Education members, parents or the community, everyone has stepped up for the DeRisis. They are an amazing family that we will continue to support whenever it is needed.”

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