BLACKWOOD, N.J. - A community came together to raise over 70,000 to help a man who was at risk of losing his New Jersey home.
FOX 29's Bruce Gordon caught up with Lamar Harris just before he headed off to work at the local Rastelli’s Market Tuesday, fresh off a weekend celebration of his 40th birthday.
Harris, a 39-year-old man with disabilities, fell on $50,000 in arrears when his father died in 2015 and the property taxes on their Blackwood home went unpaid. Harris faced the possibility of eviction, so friends, neighbors and even strangers stepped in.
“Of course, we were asking for an enormous amount of money and most people said it’s impossible," neighbor Terri Fretz said.
A GoFundMe account organized by neighbor Terri Fretz has raised more than $70,000 from more than 1200 donors in just three weeks. Fretz expects the money to be freed up within the next couple of days and says the overdue tax bill will be paid immediately.
“I will not be totally relieved until all this works out and I hand Gloucester Township the money that is due them and I have the papers in my hand. And then, I’m going to be really happy and we’re going to celebrate," Fretz said.
Neighbor and longtime friend Tom Brake will help Harris with his money matters from now on.
“Going forward to make sure that all the taxes are paid that’s my whole goal," he explained.
Supporters are even helping Harris spruce up the house. Holly Pandolfo is painting Lamar’s bedroom with a Philadelphia Eagles theme. Carson Wentz is Harris' favorite Eagles player.
The extra GoFundMe money, coupled with Lamar’s part-time job at Rastelli’s, should ensure his bills remain up-to-date and that he can stay in the only home he’s ever known.
“Happy to be staying here and got me a job and everything is working out for me," Harris said.