By Maddy Vitale
When Marie Zielinski died in a Nov. 29 fire at her 54th Street home in Sea Isle City, members of the tight-knit community came together to mourn the loss of a woman described as kind, wholesome and elegant.
Zielinski, 89, was not to be forgotten and neither were the family members, including three children and three grandchildren, she left behind that tragic day.
More than two months later, the outpouring of love and support continues to flow for Zielinski’s family, the Corsos, of Sea Isle.
Joining the fundraising efforts, Stainton’s Gallery of Shops in Ocean City began collecting money for the family this month. The funds will be taken to the 1st Bank of Sea Isle City, where Zielinski’s family has an account set up.
Stainton’s Director of Operations Bridget Buchanan explained that each month, she, along with the help of the vendors and employees, select a charity to partner with, and place two donation boxes on the counters by the register.
Each box explains in detail the cause and exactly where the customer’s donation is going to.
And there have been other fundraisers.
Residents, business owners and friends have also donated to the family. Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio’s Christmas Toy and Food Drive gave to Zielinski’s family, the Corsos.
Local real estate agents from the Silva Group and Ferzoco Group, who were friendly with Zielinski and her family, joined to collect supplies, gifts and financial support for them.
Continuing its campaign of fundraising, Stainton’s collected money in January for Bill Battersby, a veteran who suffered a stroke over Thanksgiving.
Often, Buchanan said, she learns of charities though the community, friends and social media.
She said one of her friends works at the 1st Bank of Sea Isle and posted an account of Zielinski’s tragic death on Facebook.
“When we decided we wanted to do something, we reached out to her about two weeks ago,” Buchanan said of her friend at the bank.
“I lived in Sea Isle for five or six years and it is a small community,” Buchanan said. “Everyone looks out for each other. Everyone knows everyone and wants to help.”
Stainton’s Facebook Post February 5:
The post reads: On November 29, 2018, Marie perished in a tragic fire in Sea Isle City, where she lived with several of her family members. The fire reduced the duplex, where eight people lived, to little more than rubble. Marie’s surviving family members were left with nothing but a gaping hole in their hearts. Marie is remembered as an active member of her community, despite being 89 years old, where she was well-loved. As we cannot possibly replace this amazing woman, we would like to help her family recover from this fire by providing whatever financial help we can. #Staintons #DowntownOceanCity #OCNJ #AsburyAve #shoplocal #shopsmall #payitforward