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Area businesses, employees donate money and more to Harvey victims

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Natural Food Group of Whitehall Township filled this truck with items to benefit flood victims in Houston.
Natural Food Group of Whitehall Township filled this truck with items to benefit flood victims in Houston. - (Photo / )

A number of Greater Lehigh Valley businesses are supporting the victims of Hurricane Harvey by gathering and sending donations of money, food and supplies to Texas and Louisiana.

Natural Food Group of Whitehall Township celebrated its grand opening at a new location in Whitehall Township on Tuesday by sending a truck filled with nonperishable items to benefit flood victims in Houston.

Air Products Foundation of Trexlertown also showed its support by presenting a $50,000 donation to American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief to help tackle immediate needs in Texas and Louisiana. The company also said the Air Products Foundation will match, dollar for dollar, all employee donations to any eligible nonprofit relief efforts, including by the American Red Cross.

Meanwhile, UGI Utilities of Reading said it hosted a companywide jeans day to benefit hurricane victims that raised $3,214. The donations benefited the American Red Cross to provide shelter and comfort to those affected by the storm. Employees who donated $5 or more were allowed to wear jeans to work on a day last week, the company said.

“We’ve definitely gotten a great response from the local business community,” said Dave Skutnik, spokesman for the American Red Cross Lehigh Valley – Bucks chapter.

Provident Bank, which has locations in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, said it is having a companywide jeans day fundraiser on Friday to benefit Team Rubicon USA, a service organization that’s embarking on relief efforts for victims of the hurricane.

ESSA Bank & Trust of Stroudsburg is also having a companywide jeans day fundraiser on Sept. 15, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross to benefit hurricane victims.

The Easton Farmers Market also showed its support on Saturday. Proceeds from all merchandise sold and donations from market shoppers at the information tent on Saturday totaled $992 for the Houston Food Bank to aid in its relief efforts.

VICTAULIC’S HOUSTON CONNECTION

Victaulic of Forks Township said it is matching one-to-one employee donations to the American Red Cross to help those affected by Harvey.

“Texas and many of our employees located within the Houston area have faced the most devastating hurricane to hit the United States in a decade,” Megan Longenderfer, spokeswoman for Victaulic, said in a statement. “Victaulic has two facilities and more than 50 employees in the surrounding Houston area.

“Thankfully, all Victaulic employees are safe but several have been directly impacted. As an organization, we are considering several options to support these employees.”

She said Victaulic is proud to partner with the American Red Cross and will be making a donation to it.

BIG AND SMALL BUSINESSES

For now, the Red Cross here is just accepting financial contributions.

“The outpouring of support has been extremely helpful,” Skutnik said.

The support has come from companies big and small, and many businesses are doing company matches, he added.

With so many donations coming in daily, Skutnik said, he did not have any financial totals yet and wouldn’t for several days.

“Unfortunately, we are going to get ready to do this again for Irma,” he said.

Hurricane Irma is moving through the Caribbean and expected to hit South Florida shortly.

COLLEGES ALSO HELPING

Higher education institutions also are stepping up to support relief efforts.

According to Lehigh University, the recent floods in Texas and Louisiana have affected students from the Greater Lehigh Valley who are enrolled at colleges and universities in the flooded areas. Several colleges are participating in a temporary enrollment program to support those local students whose college educations would otherwise be disrupted by these events.

Cedar Crest College, Lafayette College, Lehigh University, Moravian College and Muhlenberg College have agreed to offer students that are enrolled in colleges affected by the flooding the opportunity to take courses on a space-available basis.

This temporary enrollment will provide these students the opportunity to continue their education until they can return safely to their college or university in the flooded area, said Lehigh University officials.

Also, the Lehigh University’s women’s basketball team donated team apparel to the city of Houston to be distributed to people who had to leave their belongings in the flood.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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