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The Weather Network
Oct. 19, 2019 | Saturday
Local News
Niagara businesses team up for hurricane relief at the Fill the Truck event this Tuesday
Niagara area businesses have stepped up to raise money and collect essential goods for the Bahamas Hurricane Dorian relief this Tuesday. (supplied)

Disaster struck the Bahamas last week, and some Niagara area businesses have stepped up to raise money, collect goods and create awareness.

The Fill the Truck event will take place this Tuesday, Sept. 10, during the Brew and Browse Market and Car Show at Taps Brewhouse on Queen Street in Niagara Falls, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Owner of McDowell Custom Homes Renovation, Devin McDowell, will collect crucial items and emergency supplies, as well as cash donations. McDowell said there will be a few pickup trucks onsite to collect donations.

“We’re hoping to fill the truck beds with donated goods: food, non-perishables, emergency items, diapers, clothing. We’ll also have a cash box to collect money,” McDowell said.

He was watching the progress of Hurricane Dorian closely, because of his family’s ties to the island, he said.

“My family has property down in the Bahamas. When we were children, that’s where we’ve always vacationed, my whole family. So, when we heard it was coming, we were paying attention,” he said, adding that the damage was much worse than he expected.

“The island was devasted,” he said.

McDowell said he contacted family friends and business owners of Pumpcrete in Niagara Falls, who have helped with hurricane relief efforts in the past. They created a GoFundMe, which McDowell said raised almost $25,000 in 24 hours.

“We’ve decided to partner with Pumpcrete and their GoFundMe - they know what they’re doing, they’ve spoken to the border and know how to get around the duties and all of that,” McDowell said.

As for hosting the event at Taps Brewhouse, McDowell said restaurant manager Ashley Michelle Blake reached out to him.

“Ashley called me on Friday. She said, “Hey, we do this market every week,” which we know. I go down to it often. She asked if we have the time and want to put the effort in. Her and Eric and everybody have been a great help in terms of the idea and planning and advertisement,” he said.

“It’s been well received so far, we seem to think it’s going to be a pretty big turnout,” he added.

Blake said after hearing about the destruction and the local fundraising efforts, she wanted to see if there was any way to contribute.

“We want to help in any way we can. When we heard about this effort, we contacted Devin and asked how we could help,” she said.

Blake, with owner Eric Martin, wanted to utilize the restaurant’s space and leverage its social media presence to gain as much support for the cause as they could, she said.

“Having the space and the social media pull, we wanted to help reach the general public and encourage them to help in any way they can,” she said, adding that the weekly market was the best way to reach the most people.

Taps Brewhouse will be donating 10 per cent of all sales between 5 and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, and the event will continue rain or shine, she said.

Other local businesses contributing to the cause are Harrigan’s Auto Clinic, who will be supplying the truck to fill, Niagara Institute of Music and Arts created the signs and banners, and Hittin the 12 Niagara produced a video promotion of the event.

McDowell said a mix of cash and goods will be accepted on Tuesday at the market, and can also be dropped off at Pumpcrete in Niagara Falls with prior arrangement through him. McDowell can be reached at 289 228 4869.

Suggested essential supplies are clothing, bedding, personal hygiene products, flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, diapers, baby food and Tylenol or ibuprofen. A full list of suggested items can be found on the event page.

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