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Nonprofit that builds homes for the disabled gets overwhelming public support after power tools stolen

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    HEMPSTEAD, New York (WCBS) — Here’s an update to a story you saw first on CBS2.

A Long Island charity’s mission was grounded after someone stole its power tools, which were being used to build homes for the disabled.

But as Carolyn Gusoff reported Tuesday, CBS2 viewers came though for the nonprofit.

From sadness and silence to the buzz of power tools, they were working overtime at a Hempstead home renovation. Last week’s tears were quickly replaced with joy.

“I’d say this is ground breaking, the community coming out and really rescuing us when that’s usually our job,” said Vinny Centauro of Rescuing Families.

The nonprofit was grounded after power tools were stolen from a total renovation for Claire Helfenbein. The disabled mom just learned of an outpouring of generosity that has enabled work to continue.

“It’s going to be a blossom of goodness and it’s exactly what happened and I’m so happy,” Helfenbein said.

From viewers like Carmen Tirado-Rodriguez of Yonkers, who showed up with a truck load of tools.

“I just went out and bought whatever they are going to need to complete their mission. I feel blessed that I could do it,” Rodriguez said.

One father and son from New Jersey saw CBS2’s story.

“When I saw that I was like, we’re coming!” contractor Mark Slafkovsky said. “You’re just compelled. When you’ve gone through your own hardships, that’s when you generally get it.”

“You hope you do well and help other people and you hope eventually it comes back to you,” Justin Slafkovsky said.

Someone also forwarded CBS2’s story to the Milwaukee Tool company. A rep told Gusoff the company will make the group whole again, with new tools sent to the Hempstead site by the end of the week.

“Just write down your wish list and we are going to give you everything you need to continue helping these families,” Vinny Centauro said. “Oh my God, from bad came amazing.”

“For every person that’s maybe not so great or does things like these people did to us, there are hundreds more that want to go do good,” Gina Centauro said.

The home will be completed just a few days late. The group will then be off to rescue the next family.

Hempstead police are investigating the theft of more than $20,000 worth of power tools last week.

For more information about Rescuing Families, visit the website:

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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