MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Help is coming to the families that have been displaced after they lost everything in a huge condo building fire on Saturday.

The assistance is coming to a Red Cross shelter in Miami Gardens from nonprofits, individuals and some pretty big companies.

“Like Santa Claus all over again,” said Reggie Knight, as he carried a bag of soccer balls.

Knight is not coming from the North Pole but Miami Gardens to lend a helping hand to neighbors that were burned out by a massive fire.

Walmart provided clothes and soccer balls for the families.

Denice Brown is with the non-partisan group Faith in Florida. She collected and distributed donations to some of her Miami Gardens neighbors.

“They’ve been ready for us since early today. We actually started bringing supplies. We’ve been back and fourth bringing supplies since 10 a.m.,” said Brown.

Rita Eizmendi-Garcia is one of those affected by the fire. She is staying with her husband and 7-year-old dog Perry at the Betty T. Ferguson community center set up by the Red Cross.

She said she is grateful for the help but anxious to get back to the New World Condominium Apartments at 395 NW 177 St., to see if there is anything left to salvage.

“It’s painful. It’s not just the material things like a TV. It’s the family photo albums, the birth of your son, items of sentimental value that are irreplaceable. They haven’t let us inside,” said Garcia.

Many who live at the condos and lost all or nearly everything, learned Monday that the building never got its 40-year recertification and hasn’t had insurance since November 2021.

A total of 39 people and four pets spent Monday night at the shelter, but there are other critical needs being met.

“You can come here for a warm meal, you can see our nurse, get medication refill, you can talk to our health counselor if you need help to process that traumatic experience,” said Stephanie Wesseling.

Knight said he’s helping out his friend Denise Haines of Faith in Florida.

He’s just happy he’s in a position to help.

“I know how it goes, I know how it goes. I’m OK, so I’m going to make sure everybody else is OK,” said Knight.

The Miami Dolphins provided lunch to everyone at the shelter.

The City of Miami Gardens councilwoman Shannan “Lady” Ighodaro will host the Seat 3 Fire Relief Donation Drive Powered by S.H.E.A.R., Inc. on Friday to assist those left homeless by the fire. Details are as follows:

The event is from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Bunche Park
15600 Bunche Park Dr. W.
Miami Gardens, FL 33054
For more information, contact or
(305) 622-8000 ext. 2708.

New clothing items only (various sizes) & toiletries.

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