Funeral arrangements for a Mercer County woman killed when her house collapsed on July 23 will be this Saturday.
There will be a public viewing from 9-10:30 a.m. with service to follow at 11:00 a.m. to commemorate the life of Tika Justice, 38, at Saint Phillips Baptist Church in Hamilton, New Jersey, said Pastor Joseph E. Woods. Justice, her 20-year-old daughter and her 16-year-old daughter were in their house when it collapsed around 7:00 a.m. last Monday.
Justice’s daughters survived, with the 20-year-old recently out of the hospital and the 16-year-old in rehabilitation for her injuries. The two are staying with a relative, Woods said.
After outreach from Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede, Saint Phillips Baptist Church and the John O. Wilson Neighborhood Service Center began a collection drive to benefit Justice’s daughters and cover funeral costs.
More than 120 bags of clothing, shoes and household items have been donated, and the drive has raised more than $10,000, Woods said.
Donations can be made through the online crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, or at the church or neighborhood center. Saint Phillips receives donations Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m., and the Wilson Neighborhood Service Center accepts donations Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Checks, cash and gift cards are accepted.
“The community has somewhat become an extended family to the immediate family, so just being there for prayer, support, a listening ear, those things that a mother would do,” Woods said. “Obviously, we can’t replace the mother, but trying best we can to be that support base as they deal with the loss of their mom.”
Clothing will be accepted through Saturday, but collection efforts are shifting toward ensuring funeral costs will be covered and the daughters can move into their own housing. The 20-year-old wants to try to continue her college studies.
“If the community could continue to step up, in terms of financial donations, so that we can care for the family going forward, they still need a place to live,” said Angelo Hall, the executive director of the John O. Wilson Neighborhood Service Center. “I believe they are temporarily staying with a relative, but long-term they do need to secure some new housing.”
“We don’t want the devastation to disrupt their normal life,” Woods said. “So our hopes and prayers are going toward both of them continuing their regular life as much as they can under the circumstance.”
WBCB’s Evan Easterling and Jonny Hart contributed to this report.