Go Fund Me Jimmy and Marilyn Curcuru
A Massachusetts community has come together in support of longtime residents, Jimmy and Marilyn Curcuru, after the couple received an insensitive letter in the mail from their neighbors, urging them to paint their home because it was deemed an "eyesore."
For more than 50 years, the Curcurus have lived in the Gloucester residence, where they raised their three children, ran a small business in the city and developed positive relationships with many of their fellow community members, CNN reported.
So when the couple received an anonymous note in the mail on July 20 that read, "Please paint me!" and referred to their home as an "eyesore," the Curcurus were understandably hurt — especially because they've been dealing with their own health issues that have prevented them from doing home improvements.
"It was cowardly of them to write a letter like that," Jimmy, 71, told the outlet of the neighbors who "didn't have the nerve to sign" the note.
Not all of the community members felt that way, however, and they immediately stepped up to help the couple through a GoFundMe page. It has since raised over $54,000, which will go towards repairing the home's siding, windows, roof and stairs.
"It's very emotional for me to talk about it," Jimmy told CNN of the fundraiser. "For everybody who put money in, who sent us checks, we're going to send a thank-you note to every one of them. There are no words for me to say ... to thank them properly for what they're doing."
Go Fund Me The note that the Curcucus received in the mail
According to the GoFundMe page, repainting and updating their home was far from the Curcucus' top priority.
"Marilyn is wheelchair-bound and has been battling MS for almost 30 years," the page disclosed. "Jimmy recently recovered from a quadruple bypass."
Speaking to CNN, the couple's daughter, Michelle Curcuru Baran, explained that her father underwent the surgery in 2006 after suffering a heart attack and later developed kidney issues from medication he was taking post-surgery.
In the months following his procedure, Baran said her father was unable to run his framing business and he "never really recovered from that." Eventually, Jimmy got a part-time job working at a hardware store, but decided to retire two months ago amid the coronavirus pandemic to "stay home more and be with [Marilyn] a little more," Baran told CNN.
As for her 72-year-old mother, Baran said Marilyn's battle with multiple sclerosis worsened over the years to the point where she became bedridden around 2016, according to CNN.
Because she requires frequent assistance, Baran's older sister, Lynanne, left her job and moved in with her parents to be her mom's full-time caretaker, CNN reported.
She still currently lives in the Gloucester home, which has been in the family for more than 75 years, the GoFundMe stated.
Go Fund Me The Curcucu family home
While a majority of their neighbors knew about the Curcurus' health ailments and financial struggles, apparently not everyone did, according to the GoFundMe.
"This loving family is well known in Gloucester and most know the hardships they have faced," the page reads. "The neighbors [who wrote the note] were unaware of the circumstances that lead to having to forgo repairs to their home."
Infuriated, Baran told CNN she posted the note to Facebook and slammed the neighbors for shaming her parents, who she said did their best to maintain the home despite their struggles.
"To my concerned neighbor, thank you for letting me know my house needs to be painted. Guess what? I know. I've been working on it for almost four years," Baran wrote in the post, according to CNN. "I myself always drive by houses that look like mine and wonder what's up in their lives. I don't judge them not knowing what they may be going through."
After making her post public, Baran recalled how hundreds of people reached out asking how they could help, including the Mayor of Gloucester, Sefatia Romeo Theken. Days later, the GoFundMe page was created on the family's behalf.
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As of Monday, the fundraiser has had over 1,000 donors — and counting — contribute to the Curcurus' home repair fund. Harvest Moon Builders, a full-service general contractor, and Ace Hardware also agreed to help the family with the project, according to the GoFundMe.
"Harvest Moon Builders joined the group, visited the house, and provided an estimate of the work. They eliminated their management costs and cut their overhead and profit in half. All equating to thousands of dollars in savings," the page reads. "Ace Hardware quickly committed cash and materials to the fund."
As Jimmy and Marilyn continue to receive support from people near and far, their children say the family has moved on from the note.
"Our original thought [with the Facebook post] was anger, especially my sister who lives in the home with them and has sacrificed so much... it's hurt and anger at the beginning," she told CNN. "But as the weeks have gone by and you see this outpouring from the community, at this point the person who wrote the note doesn't really matter."
Added son Jimmy on the GoFundMe: "We don’t care who wrote it. We want to enjoy the love and support of this great city we live in. I want to thank everyone for everything you have done and are going to do."
Those interested in helping the Curcurus with their home repairs can so do here.