Novelist Alan Kaufman is drumming up support for the victims of the East Village fire, including getting a sizable $36,000 donation from musician Sting and his wife Trudy Styler. The donation was made as part of a larger effort to engage both celebrities and the local community in rehabilitating the Second Avenue block that lost three buildings due to a massive explosion on Thursday.

Kaufman, along with artist Jim Storm, is holding a benefit gala at Theater 80 St Marks on April 12 at 8 PM. It will feature “performers and celebrities from the world of music, literature and drama,” according to a press release, though the talent has not yet been announced. Tickets to the gala will cost between $20 and $150. Proceeds will go to the Good Old Lower East Side, a housing preservation organization that “has been working closely” with the victims.

Kaufman, a fourth-generation New Yorker who lives in the Lower East Side, said that a community rally within the theater will precede the event, at 5 PM, inviting people to show support and discuss issues that the neighborhood faces. “A catastrophe of this proportion,” said Kaufman to ANIMAL, “has to have something to do with gentrification.”

(Photo: New York City Fire Department)