NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – On Thanksgiving morning, as many others were preparing turkeys for a slow roast in an oven, Sherry Coger was putting a small turkey into an electric pot in a room at the Uxbridge Inn.
That’s where she and her 11-year-old son and 10-year-old grandson have been staying since a fire at their 2683 Providence Road home Nov. 12. Her 18-year-old son has been staying with friends.
“My son said to me, ‘I sure will be glad when you start cooking, mom.’ I wanted to cry. We take so much for granted,’’ Coger said.
Their home, owned by Roger Mathieu, wasn’t destroyed in the fire but needs repairs. Many of the Coger’s belongings were damaged or destroyed, and they didn’t have tenants' insurance.
“When we do move back home, in two or three months from what we are told, it won't be without rental insurance. A hard lesson learned,” Coger said.
In the meantime, the family lives in one room at the Uxbridge Inn. She has been looking for temporary housing but without success. The Red Cross suggested she call the Housing Authority. Coger did. “They said they were full and will call if anything comes open,’’ she said.
“Catholic Charities said to let them know what our needs are right this minute, but I am not sure how to answer that,” she said. Their biggest problem is money and housing.
“We get a paycheck and it goes to feeding us and paying for the motel. We still have bills at the house — oil for heat and lights and cellphones. I am not sure what to do next,” she said. “The bills don't stop, they just keep adding up."
The family received help from Northbridge Middle School, where the boys are students.
"The school collected about $160 in gift cards, and many wanted to cook for us. But we don't have anywhere to store food,” Coger said. “I do thank them for their kindness."
The losses from the fire are still difficult to face, she said.
“It could have been so such worse, lives could have been lost. But to think it took me 25 years to have anything and it was gone in the blink of an eye is really hard,” Coger said.
This year, she said she is not only worried about the kind of Christmas she’ll be able to give her boys, but also where they will celebrate the holidays. But Coger still looks at the bright side.
“When they say you should be thankful for the roof over your head, you should be just that,’’ she said.
Anyone able to rent an apartment on a short-term basis to Coger may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.