Fundraiser planned for Deptford couple whose house was destroyed by fire

Some of the money made during the event will go directly to them


On April 25, Deptford firefighters were dispatched to a blazing fire on Evelyn Drive. Pictured is part of The Deptford fire station sign on Delsea Drive. (James Jackson, the Sun)

Lifetime Deptford resident John Grabbe and his wife Jenn had their lives forever altered last month when they lost everything but the clothes on their backs to a devastating fire at their Evelyn Drive home.

“They weren’t home on Saturday night, and their neighbor was woken up to their house in flames,” said family friend Carol Axelrod, of the April 25 fire. The couple was out of town at Jenn’s parents’ house at the time, and their daughter was also away. No one was injured.

John’s father passed away when he was younger, and after his mother retired, he and Jenn, also a longtime Deptford resident,  brought the family home. 

To make up for some of what was lost in the fire, Axelrod and some family friends have set up a fundraiser for the Grabbes on Saturday, May 8 at A Taste of Philly in West Deptford.

Jenn’s new car was in the driveway the day of the fire, and she soon realized insurance wouldn’t cover what the car was really worth. While its front looked unscathed, the back of the car melted away because it was backed up to the garage. 

“We were going to use GoFundMe, but we were told by several people that they take a big percentage of the money raised,” said Axelrod.

The ultimate goal of the fundraiser is for all of the money raised to go to the Grabbes.

“They are just really nice people who will give you the shirt off their back, and we are just trying to help them out during their time of need,” Axelrod noted. 

Axelrod, Linda Bennett, family friends, and A Taste of Philly owner Mark Rossi are planning different ways to raise money at the fundraiser. Twenty percent of in-store transactions made during that day will go directly to the Grabbes. Several more fundraisers are also scheduled to take place, including a 50/50 fundraising raffle and basket raffle. A drop box for donations will also be in place.

“Our community is awesome and so many people have come forward to help,” said Axelrod. “It just amazes me how people step up during their time of need,” she said.  

The fundraiser will take place from 1 to 9 p.m. Donations can also be made through Venmo @Carolax-22 or @Linda-Bennett-70