Mom died in house collapse. You can help lay her to rest ‘with grace’
HAMILTON — Officials in Hamilton are asking for donations to pay for the funeral of a township woman who was killed at the beginning of last week, when her house suddenly collapsed into a pile of rubble.
Engineers say the small home on South Broad Street crumpled because of decades of water damage to the foundation, instantly killing 38-year-old Tika Justice and injuring her two daughters.
On Monday Pastor Joseph Woods of the Saint Phillips Baptist Church said efforts continue to provide financial support to the daughters, ages 16 and 20, and to cover funeral expenses for Justice.
“I have set a goal of $10,000. All monies received will be handled with integrity by the Saint Phillips Baptist Church of Hamilton under my direct oversight" Woods said.
He said the family has no insurance, and "nothing to contribute amidst this unexpected crisis.”
Donations are being accepted in the form of cash, checks, money orders and all-purpose gift cards (like Visa) cards. The Pastor said checks or money orders should be made payable to the St. Phillips Baptist Church.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up.
“What was their residence is now a pile of rubbish. They have lost everything," Woods said.
Kelly Yaede, the mayor of Hamilton Township, said what happened was a horrible tragedy.
“You think it’s going to be a typical Monday morning, and you hear cracking and the next thing you know your entire home is lost in an instant,” she said. “We hope what we’re doing will help these girls and the family make their lives just a little bit easier.”
Yaede said “everyone, particularly in times of tragedy, times of trauma, needs the support to be able to lay a family member to rest with grace, with dignity.”
"Our collective support of this family that needs lifting, that needs love, that needs guidance, is so important, and we will continue to do that," she said.
Woods said over the past week, organizers have collected more than 12 bags of clothing, shoes and household items. More than $3,500 has already been collected as well, and “these totals are increasing minute by minute.”
“After expenses are paid, if there are any remaining funds, those remaining funds will be used for the family to assist with housing, food, medical bills and to support the daughters in this thing we call life," Woods said.
He said the Justice family had not been part of his church prior to the tragedy, but he has “claimed” them now and is serving as a spiritual adviser.
“When one member in our community hurts it impacts us all, especially in the midst of such a devastating situation.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.
More from New Jersey 101.5: