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Green Lane Business Spurs Storm Recovery
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-07-24

            In the immediate aftermath of the storm that caused significant flooding issues in Green Lane, Kelly and Tom Weiss wanted to donate to a venue that was helping impacted residents. Finding no active organizations, they decided to match concerned citizens with residents in need through their craft brewery business.

            "We can't be the only people who want to do something," Kelly Weiss said.

            For more than two weeks the owners of the Perkiomen Valley Brewery, located at 101 Walnut Street in the borough, have distributed household items, clothing, food,

Jeremy Dusza, employee at Perkiomen Valley Brew-

ery, adds cards to the board listing flood victims

requests.

water, gift cards and other items – including a Google Chrome notebook computer and an acoustic guitar - to approximately 20 families adversely affected by the July 11 flash flooding.

            Kelly Weiss estimates the total value of the contributions in thousands of dollars. She said one person recently donated a $500 gift card.

            "We have really good people in our community," said Kelly Weiss, chief executive officer of the brewery, which opened five weeks ago. "They just needed a vehicle. The outpouring has been incredible."

            The goal is to help impacted families in Green Lane and Marlborough, according to Jeremy Dusza, part-time brewery employee. He said the business has received more than 100 requests for assistance.

            Bob Weiss, the chief operating officer, described the program as a Secret Santa in July. He wants the business to serve as a central location for families in the borough.

            Borrowing an idea from the Open Link, the brewery owners created an enclosed bulletin board near the main entrance where residents can post items they need on a piece of paper. People choosing to donate remove a specific piece of paper and anonymously deliver those items to the business.

            As they walked the borough the day after the storm, and observed the immediate damage, Kelly Weiss said she and her husband flashed back to an incident eight years ago involving her parents, whose Wyoming County home had nine feet of water on the first floor when the Susquehanna River flooded.  "We know what it feels like to have the world cave in on you in an instant," she said.

            The following day, they knocked on the doors of Green Lane homes. Relying on a template of household items in a white three ring binder created by Tom Weiss, they surveyed each resident's needs. All the tags placed in the bulletin board Sunday were removed by 2 p.m. Monday, according to Kelly.

            Donated supplies stored in an old bank vault are delivered and distributed to residents. Last week, a woman staying in a Hereford motel, arrived at the brewery asking for school supplies, gift cards a back pack. She left with water and Gatorade, according to Dusza.

            On Thursday, July 18, John Walter – the sales and service manager of John R. Young & Company, located at 751 Lumber Street – thanked Dusza for the delivery of water to the employees and crews cleaning up its facility. According to Walter, the business sustained 1½ feet of water in its first floor offices. He said the business, which lost electricity during the storm and got it back at 5 p.m. on July 17, remained fully operational by shifting the service advisor, field dispatcher and receptionist to its Palm location.

            Walter did not know when the first floor would be ready for use. He added that the business is planning on utilizing an office trailer at its Green Lane location.

            Kelly and Bob Weis, who live with their family in Upper Salford, are transitioning the program to the Open Link, located at 452 Penn Street in Pennsburg. Counselors from the multi-service agency are currently meeting with victims to help them get back on their feet. That includes offering food and personal care items from our food pantry and gift cards to purchase necessities.

            Storm cleanup in Green Lane is further along than initially anticipated, according to Mayor Lynn Wolfe. She said municipal officials hope to soon remove large debris from the Perkiomen Creek. A vehicle, a pop-up camper and apartment complex mailboxes are currently in the creek between the Liberty Gas station and Mathias property, according to the mayor.

Lumber Street, which is closed between Gravel Pike and Reihman Road, remains a major issue for borough officials, according to Wolfe. She said the only three residents without electricity in the municipality live on Lumber Street near Reihman Road.

"We need to get the street open," Wolfe said.

A representative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has extracted a soil sample from the area, according to the mayor. She said adjustors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, who visited the area two days after the storm, could declare at least one property along Lumber Street uninhabitable.

"It's in their hands," Wolfe said.

For more information, or assistance call the Open Link at 215-679-4112.

For more information about Perkiomen Valley Brewery or to post a request for items lost in the flood, visit https://www.facebook.com/perkiomenvalleybrewery/.


 

 

 

 

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