Eric Reif's mother lives in New Jersey. As he drove to her house after Hurricane Sandy hit, he couldn't help but notice how everything was dark. He heard nothing but the sound of generators running everywhere.
He wondered, what could he do to help?
At a celebration of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church's 100th anniversary, he mentioned something about that to his church family and things began to be put into motion. In no time at all, his son's Cub Scout Pack 41 of Palmerton, issued a plea for donations of clothing, cleaning items, food and water for the victims of Sandy.
Reif approached his employer, Goodyear Wholesale Tire Center in Allentown, asking if the company could help. The offer given to him was for as many trucks, gas, drivers and tolls needed to get the precious cargo to victims.
"It was the right thing to do. Pay it forward. The company wanted to do it for the same reason Eric did," said Marty Weikart, region manager at Goodyear Wholesale Tire Center.
"And then it just kind of ballooned. It mushroomed. We contacted radio and TV stations like Penn's Peak Radio and Channel 13. We put it on Facebook. Mike Kelly, our boss, sent out a massive email to all our dealers. We got toys and clothes from Kirschal and Fritz in Doylestown. All the items were dropped off at the church. We thought we might need one truck. Then we needed two. By Friday, we needed three and thought possibly four," Reif said.
The Palmerton Lions Club donated $500 from its emergency portion of their budget, and Lion Mark Green purchased diapers, cleaning supplies, bleach, spray bottles, wipes to be sent along.
Saturday morning, the deadline for drop-offs was 11 a.m. and volunteers from the Palmerton Area High School football team, Palmerton Lions Club and Cub Pack 41 loaded three trucks completely full in 15 minutes. Signs the Cub Scouts made, "PA Helping New Jersey" were taped to the sides.
Reif and two other drivers got behind the wheels and drove 92 miles to a FEMA site in Hazlet, New Jersey, a former Staples building, now a Rain Relief Center. The donated items were for the victims of Union Beach, NJ.
They arrived on schedule and was one of about 16 other trucks and school buses in line to unload.
"Everything was very well organized. Everyone working in the warehouse were volunteers. There were about 300-400 people waiting in line to go 'shopping.' You could see the hurt in the people's faces," said Reif. "I'm so glad we could do this for them."
Cub Pack 41 thanks everyone in the community for helping them help others.