La Vigna Family Fire Recovery Fund

For: La Vigna Family Fire Recovery Fund
Organizer: James La Vigna and Dori Jeffries
of $300,000 goal.
Raised by 428 donors
9% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Sharon and Vince La Vigna were victims of the San Jose serial arsonist in the early morning hours of Saturday January 11th, 2014 when their home situated on the corner of East St. John and North 17th streets was set on fire. It appears that the fire was set on the back porch and quickly spread to the roof of their single story Victorian. Heroic neighbors rescued the couple mere minutes before the roof collapsed.

The home had been in the La Vigna family since 1947. Sharon and Vince had inhabited the residence for over 45 years. They raised three sons there and often took in people who needed a place to stay while they got back on their feet. 

Sharon, age 67, was a preschool teacher for a low income non-profit until she was laid off two years ago. Vince, age 69, was on disability and unable to work. They were only able to live in the high cost area of San Jose because they owned their own home. Sharon has searched non-stop for work for the past two years but has found difficulties finding permanent employment due to her age. She spent time volunteering when she could as she always said, "there are people worse off than me. At least I have a roof over my head."

A few years ago, Sharon reached out to her insurance company asking to make installments on the cost of the home owners insurance rather than paying a large amount at once. Instead of working with Sharon, they dropped her policy and their home has been uninsured since.

The goal amount of $300,000 would rebuild Vince and Sharon's home and help replace some of the material things they have lost. Nothing will ever replace their home and pets they lost in the fire but your donation can help give them a place to live and call their own once again.

If you find you have difficulties donating through this site, you can donate directly via PayPal (

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Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 23, 2014 by James La Vigna and Dori Jeffries
Hi Everyone,
Many of you have reached out with concern for the cats and I come with some good news- one of the cats was rescued from the house today! She was a little weak and scared but Sharon has her now and is nursing her back to health.

Robert and James made it into the house today and every room is under 3-4 feet of debris. I am amazed that the bedroom where the cat was found was that room that saw the most of the damage. This is the very same room that Sharon was asleep in when her heroic neighbors pulled her from it.

We are feeling very grateful tonight.

Posted on January 21, 2014 by James La Vigna and Dori Jeffries
Our hearts are full thank to each of you who have responded to Vince and Sharon's story. The initial shock and surrealness of the event has subsided and as a family we're working through immediate and long term plans. The heartbreak has finally begun to be felt as we realize the reality of the situation but it has been eased by the absolute generosity of all of you. Whether you donated $5 or $5,000, you are now a part of the La Vigna family forever and we cannot thank you enough. Even if you have been unable to donate but passed their story along to raise attention to their plight, you too are a part of us now. Thank you doesn't feel like a strong enough phrase to express our sentiment but it is all that we have. Thank you.
The La Vigna Family

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