The Center Moriches Fire Department announced that it has raised more than $20,000 so far for the family of Thomas Valva, the 8-year-old who officials say died after his father forced him to stay in a freezing garage overnight last month.
The boy’s father, NYPD transit officer Michael Valva, and his fiancée, Angela Pollina, have been charged with second-degree murder.
The incident has sparked an outpouring of support from the local community and beyond.
“Thank you …Two simple words that we can’t say enough to all of you!” ex-chief Bill Renzetti said on the fire department’s Facebook page Friday night. The fire department collected gift cards and monetary donations Thomas’ immediate family on Jan. 28 and 29.
Reached by phone Saturday, Renzetti said the department will now accept in-person donations throughout the weekend and is still getting donations by mail.
“The Center Moriches Fire Department is honored to host this event and help the community in any way,” Renzetti said.
Renzetti said that people expressed relief that there was a secure place to donate their money — with individual donations coming in as high as $500 — and that the money would go straight to Thomas’ mother, Justyna Zubko-Valva.
The fundraiser was set up by Renzetti’s wife, Maria, past president of the fire department’s Ladies Auxiliary, and Keith Caputo of the nonprofit Helping Makes You Happy.
Additional fundraisers have been set up by businesses locally and through the region, as blue ribbons meant to bring awareness to child abuse prevention decorate the Center Moriches community.
Send donations by mail to:
Center Moriches Fire Department
Attn: Maria Renzetti
301 Main St.
Center Moriches, NY 11934