Tom & Jerry’s accepting donations for family affected by Garden Prairie fire

One woman who passed away in the fire worked at Tom & Jerry’s in Belvidere, and now the restaurant is helping the family by accepting donations.
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 10:42 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2022 at 10:53 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A day of devastation, after hearing the news that the life of a co-worker from Tom & Jerry’s in Belvidere was taken, along with several others in a Garden Prairie fire early Monday morning.

“Our day started, by calling our loved one multiple times....where are you, we called her for a few hours,” said Owner of Tom and Jerry’s Bob Grottke. “And then later to find out she didn’t make it through a fire....”

Grottke says the staff at Tom & Jerry’s is like a family, and hearing of the loss of an employee is like losing one of his own. Now, the most important thing the community can do, is give to the family who lost nearly everything.

“Our employee had a daughter that was in the fire, and luckily we are hearing that she made it, but we don’t know the impact to that yet,” said Grottke.

Grottke described her as full of life, hard-working, and a person that could brighten anyone’s day by just being around them. Now, he is accepting donations to give to the family who survived the fire.

“They lost everything, their phones, phone chargers, their clothes, their memories,” said Grottke. “Everything that was in a house that you would expect is gone.”

Several community members have already been showing their support with donations earlier today. One of them being Juliana Sliger from Belvidere. She lost her son in a hit and run accident almost 7 years ago. She says when tragedies like this occur, it is important for the community to wrap their arms around the family.

“The more people around you that show love, strangers or family members,” said Sliger. “It doesn’t take away the devastation or tragedy, but it does help soothe, and give you hope.”

Grottke also says that it is important to do whatever we can to help prevent a similar devastating event from happening again.

“If you have a battery not in that smoke detector, change it tonight,” said Grottke.

Grottke is accepting donations at any of the Tom & Jerry’s restaurants and also through a Go FundMe page you can find on their website linked here, or here

We have chosen not to identify the Tom & Jerry worker who died until investigators release the names of the victims.

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