Garage Owner, Employees Gear Up to Head Down to Texas to Deliver Donations

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SWOYERSVILLE -- People are pouring into donation sites in Luzerne County to give what they can to those devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Those at Grease Monkey Garage in Swoyersville have been collecting donations since Monday. They were shocked by the response he has gotten from the community.

Joe Russell and some of his employees are getting ready to personally deliver donations to a mega-shelter in Dallas. Russell said he is nervous about what he’ll face, but he will stay strong because of all of this support.

“There have been a lot of tears and crying and ‘I love you’s’ with me and my wife because there's no saying when I'll be back. It's going to be a while that's for sure,” Russell said.

Russell and his wife Raquel took to Facebook on Monday to let everyone know they were collecting donations. They never imagined their phone would be ringing off the hook.

“Everyone is calling asking if they can drop stuff off. You can drop it off from 9 to 5 when we're here or leave it outside the doors and we'll bring it in,” Raquel Russell said in between a frenzy of sorting goods.

So far the Russell’s said they have collected about one ton worth of donations. However, what they need most are hygiene products like tampons and adult diapers.

Those who are donating were impressed by the Russells courage.

“Joe and Raquel are great people. For them to send the guys from the garage down there to help out, that's what people should be doing,” Lynn Werts of Swoyersville said after dropping off a trunk full of donations.

Even 11-year-old Luke Henerzak used his own money to buy a bag filled with donations and drop it off at the garage.

“I just wanted to do something nice for the people in Houston and the surrounding areas,” Henerzak said.

Pat Slempa donated because she still remembers how people nationwide helped her family from Pittston after the flood of 1972.

“Let me tell you, when the people started bringing things in and started working with us, I worked with the Red Cross. It was great. All these people came in from nowhere and just kept going,” Slempa said.

When asked why he thinks people have been so generous, all Russell could say was…

“It's Northeast Pennsylvania. There's nothing else to say about it, you know? Everybody pulls together.”

If you would like to donate, the Russells are collecting everything from dry food to cleaning products. You can drop it off at their location on Main Street in Swoyersville any time of day until Sunday or contact them here.

Russell and his employees leave for their trip on Monday.  He said they will be using their own trucks to deliver the donations, but if anyone has a tractor trailer they are willing to let his team borrow it would greatly help.