Merkel’s sends trucks of supplies to Texas
Donations pour in to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey
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.”
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.
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.