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Wednesday, 06 September 2017 20:03

Auto Body Shop in Chicopee, MA, Helps People Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Written by Tashanea Whitlow, WWLP-22News

On Sept. 2, R.T’s Auto Shop, a Hampshire county auto body shop, became the center of the relief effort to help people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Trevor Bleau, co-owner, told 22News, “We honestly didn’t think it was going to be this big, but that’s a great thing. When this sort of tragedy happens in Texas, this sort of thing needs to happen, so why not here."

Due to the outpouring of support, the auto shop has been unable to work for the last two days. 

“Car after car after car. I mean at one point, we had three or four cars in the parking lot waiting to be unloaded.”

Their only job now is collecting donations. One by one.  Bag by bag. Vital products such as formula, toiletries, clothing---some still with the tags on them were all collected, including water.

From the oldest to the youngest, all hands were on deck. 

“Because if we needed it, they would probably help us out,” said Bleau.

Despite being more than 1,800 miles away, Harvey victims were on the minds and hearts of people in western Massachusetts.

John and Sheri Skill of Belchertown told 22News, “We’re just watching it and they have nothing. And one lady caught me, and she says, ‘I wanna go home, but I don’t have one.’ And I can’t fathom having that.”

The Skills spent more than $350 on brand new pillows, sheets, Pampers and children’s toys. 

“I wrote on some of the items, just so they know that Massachusetts is thinking about them and we all care,” said Skill.

Hurricane Harvey left a million people without a place to call home, and at least 47 dead.

“Our brothers and sisters down in Texas need us right now. It’s been a great outpouring of support from our local community, so we just wanted to help and make that a reality,” said Dave Kopazz of Ware.

On Saturday at noon, a convoy of trucks, bound for Texas, will pick up every donated item.

“We’re friends and neighbors being good friends and neighbors,” said Kopazz.

Thank you WWLP-22News for reprint permission. 

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