What to Know
- Lamar Harris of Gloucester Township will get to keep his home after his neighbors raised more than $50,000.
- Harris has a developmental disability and lost his parents and brother, leaving him alone in his home and unable to make payments.
- His neighbors created a GoFundMe for him and raised enough money to allow him to keep his house.
Life hasn’t been easy for 39-year-old Lamar Harris. The longtime Gloucester Township resident is developmentally disabled and can’t read or drive. His mother died when he turned 8 while his grandmother passed away when he was 12.
Lamar then lived with his father and brother until his father suddenly died in front of him while they were grocery shopping in 2015. The very next year, his brother passed away, leaving Lamar alone in his home on Cherry Circle in Gloucester Township’s Blackwood community.
Despite all his hardships, Lamar remained a positive and beloved figure in his neighborhood who always helped other people.
“He takes out people’s trash on Mondays. He brings the empty trashcans back in,” Michelle Bradbury, his neighbor, told NBC10. “If you are on vacation he will get your newspaper. He’ll get your mail.”
Other neighbors have similar stories of acts of kindness from Lamar.
“The first day that my mom met Lamar he already started helping with the garden,” Giovanna Monaco said. “All I can remember about him is he just loves to help everyone.”
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From helping residents with gardening to looking out for a neighbor with cancer, Lamar's generosity earned him the nickname the “Mayor of Cherry Circle.” And when the mayor discovered he was in danger of losing the only home he ever knew due to owing $50,000 in overdue payments, his community stepped up to the plate.
With an Aug. 5 eviction notice deadline fast approaching, neighbors created a GoFundMe page to help Lamar save his house.
“Everyone says somebody has to help him,” Terri Fretz, another neighbor, said. “So I’m somebody. We’re all somebody.”
When NBC10 first reported the story on Tuesday, the number was at $23,000. By Thursday, the number exceeded the goal, reaching more than $55,800.
“They love me and they are trying to help me,” Lamar told NBC10.
It’s wonderful news for a man who has suffered incredible losses. And also a reminder that he still has plenty of family left.