“I woke up…thinking I don’t know how I’m going to feed my kids”

Trish Nahmabian and her family lost everything in a fire on Tashmoo Ave Friday. photo courtesy of Sarnia Ontario Family in Need (Facebook)

Trish Nahmabian and her family lost everything in a fire on Tashmoo Ave a week ago.
photo courtesy of Sarnia Ontario Family in Need (Facebook)

Trish Nahmabin is overwhelmed by the generosity of her community and yet still reeling from losing everything in a fire at her Aamjiwnaang First Nation home.

On March 7, Nahmabin left her home wearing only a sweatshirt, pants and a pair of slippers. She didn’t even take her purse. When she returned, black smoke billowed from the home she shared with her five children and one grandchild. Within a few hours, everything she and her family had was gone; family photos, identification, and even family heirlooms.

“I lost everything. I have nothing left…even the pictures I had in my wallet I lost because I lost that in the fire,” says Nahmabin. “That’s what my daughter (Jaymee) is so upset about…she already started a keepsake box for her daughter (Journey). She’s turning one-year-old on the 18th and she was going to have a big party to celebrate; she had all the decorations already. She’s really upset about it.”

And the young mother is also heartbroken at the loss of a family heirloom. “The baby’s grandma on the father’s side gave her a knitted afghan…it was handed down through the family. It’s tough because stuff like that you can’t replace.”

And while there was a lot that cannot be replaced, the community has stepped up to help the family. Nahmabin has been going through piles of clothing donated to the family. There have also been donations of furniture and Aamjiwnaang First Nation has offered the family a three bedroom apartment, although Nahmabin is not sure whether she and her six dependents will all fit into the apartment.

And she says the Canadian Red Cross has been very generous, putting the family up at a hotel for three nights, giving food certificates and a Wal-Mart gift card to help get them through.

But even with all the help, losing her home has been traumatic and Nahmabin is still having a hard time. “I woke up … thinking ‘I don’t know how I’m going to feed my kids this morning,” she says. And even then, an anonymous donor gave the family money to help with the essentials. “That came at the perfect time,” she says.

Nahmabin is not surprised by the generosity of the community. “I knew people would help out around here…I’ve seen it happen for other people,” she says.

But Nahmabin still has a long way to go. “I have so much to go get yet…things like pots and pans and everything…I still need a lot of help.”

An on-line account to give financial donations has been set up at http://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/vv22/firevictimsthenahmabinfamily