Merkel’s sends trucks of sup­plies to Texas

Do­na­tions pour in to aid vic­tims of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey

The Boyertown Area Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Re­becca Blan­chard rblan­chard@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @boy­er­town­times on Twit­ter

Sev­eral trucks and trail­ers from the Boyertown area headed for Texas on Thurs­day to bring some re­lief to the res­i­dents there fol­low­ing the dev­as­ta­tion of Hur­ri­cane Har­vey.

When Brooke Merkel re­ceived a text from her dad Mike, owner of Merkel’s Shoes, about tak­ing a truck of shoes and sup­plies to hur­ri­cane vic­tims, she posted on the Merkel’s Shoes Face­book page about a do­na­tion col­lec­tion, think­ing a few peo­ple would see it and would pass the mes­sage along.

“It just ex­ploded,” said Brooke. The do­na­tions they re­ceived com­pleted filled Pheas­ant­land Roller Rink.

The post­ing has been shared more than 600 times on Face­book.

Items re­quested in­cluded wa­ter, clean­ing sup­plies, di­a­pers, adult socks, un­der­wear, de­odor­ant, tooth­brush, tooth­paste, col­or­ing books, read­ing books, shoes, baby food, for­mula, wa­ter bot­tles, baby bot­tles, pet sup­plies, etc.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers im­me­di­ately be­gan shar­ing the post and the do­na­tions poured in. A team of four, in­clud­ing Brooke, be­gan sort­ing and or­ga­niz­ing all

of the items.

“In the be­gin­ning, we just asked for any­thing. We must have had thou­sands of pieces of cloth­ing,” she said. “Peo­ple be­came so re­spon­sive, ask­ing what else is needed. We said ‘no more cloth­ing, we need to fo­cus on ev­ery­thing else.’”

Through her re­sources in Texas, Brooke and her fam­ily learned how many shel­ters were no longer ac­cept­ing cloth­ing do­na­tions due to an over­abun­dance.

“It was nice, we did have the re­sources down there to say to us ‘hey, there is where needs help, this is what we need.’”

The trucks and trail­ers are be­ing driven down by Brooke’s dad, her brother Christo­pher, and friends. They plan to be back by Mon­day.

“They’re go­ing to straight down to Beau­mont, Texas. There is an an­i­mal shel­ter that is in need of a lot and we have a lot of an­i­mal stuff go­ing down. Peo­ple were very gen­er­ous with that as well.”

In ad­di­tion to the an­i­mal shel­ter, they also have plans to visit a shel­ter at a church and may be mak­ing stops in hard-hit ar­eas of Louisiana as well.

“They’re go­ing down with 60,000 bot­tles of wa­ter,” said Merkel. “The girl said to me, ‘you know, it’s amaz­ing we have this hur­ri­cane come through that’s full of wa­ter and that’s what we’re in need of the most.’”

The Merkel’s have tem­po­rar­ily stopped re­ceiv­ing do­na­tions un­til they can de­liver what they’ve al­ready col­lected. How­ever, the calls are still com­ing in from folks look­ing to help.

With the hur­ri­cane com­ing through Florida, the fam­ily fig­ures they’re go­ing to end up go­ing there next in the com­ing weeks. Brooke’s dad is telling ev­ery­one to hold onto their do­na­tions – for now.

“My dad just likes help­ing peo­ple, that’s how pappy was and my pappy was the one who started the shoe store. You know, he’d give you the shirt of his back and the pants he had on if you needed them.”

In ad­di­tion to ev­ery­thing else, they are also tak­ing shoes down to do­nate. That’s how the whole col­lec­tion process be­gan.

“We have the abil­ity to do it and we have the re­sources to do it, so we may as well do it and help out. You never know, one day Boyertown may need help — or Gil­bertsville. We’re go­ing to help the small towns as well. If it’s some­body close by, we want to help.”

Mem­bers of the Boyertown high school foot­ball team helped to load the cases of wa­ter onto the truck ear­lier in the week, giv­ing a much needed break to or­ga­niz­ers.

“None of it would have pos­si­ble with­out the whole com­mu­nity. Ev­ery­one re­ally, re­ally came to­gether.”

SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Merkel fam­ily of Merkel’s Shoes made a re­quest for do­na­tions via Face­book — and the com­mu­nity did not dis­ap­point. Pic­tured: Pheas­ant­land Roller Rink filled with do­na­tion be­fore ev­ery­thing is loaded into the trucks and de­liv­ered to Texas.

SUBMITTED PHO­TOS

Mem­bers of the Boyertown Area High School foot­ball team help to load cases of wa­ter on the trucks.

The scene at Pheas­ant­land Roller Rink as com­mu­nity mem­bers brought it items to do­nate.

Di­a­pers were among the many items re­quested through the col­lec­tion.

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