East Valley Jewish Community Center gets thousands in donations after a fire on Christmas Day

CHANDLER, AZ - A small fire at the East Valley Jewish Community Center in Chandler risked shutting down the center for months. 

But with the help from the community, a portion of the center re-opened in a matter of days, and it is expected to be back in full capacity next week.

"It is awe-inspiring when a community comes together and supports each other," said Executive Director Steve Tepper.

The fire was believed to have been electrical in nature possibly stemming from a fish tank. The fire itself didn't cause the damage, it was the water from the sprinklers that ended up destroying several classrooms and a portion of the kitchen area.

Tepper was told it would be a good four months for repairs to be completed. When Tepper hired the contractor he got a surprise, the contractor donated $10,000.

"We also got $6,000 in furniture from a parent," he said. Tepper also said they got a lot of smaller donations in toys and other items to use in their child care facility.

The center is not exclusive to the Jewish community and has services for children and the elderly. 

The EVJCC was in the process of planning a community event for January 12th when the fire sparked.

The event features a film about a man who saved hundreds of children during the holocaust. 

The goal is showcase how one person can make a difference in the community.

"It is interesting while planning this event, we came into need," said Tepper.

The EVJCC still needs donations.

The film, "The Power of One: Nicky's Family" will be shown January 12th at the Chandler Center for the Arts.

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