Keep on truckin’

By on September 13, 2017

Jed Guare, a driver for Snavely’s Mill, leaves Lititz Sept. 13 with
a tractor trailer full of bottled water for hurricane victims in
Houston, Texas.

Water donations pour in as Snavely’s Mill fills third tractor-trailer for hurricane victims

Folks from Snavely’s Mill, Elstonville Sportsman’s Association, Manheim VFW, and Elstonville Motorcycle Club thought it was a good idea to accumulate, solicit, and deliver donations to devastated victims of Hurricane Harvey a week ago.

But they had no idea how good the thought was.

“The local response has been overwhelming,” said Dave Snavely, who initially donated bottled water and a truck to be used to transport items to Texas.

By the end of the week, the plan to send one truck had grown to three.

Through the guidance of the American Red Cross, the first truck delivered 22 pallets of water to a church outside Houston while the next 18-wheeler was being loaded in Lititz.

“We started with one, then we had two, and now we’ve got a third truck that is half full right now,” he said Monday afternoon.

The idea, which Snavely said started with his sister-in-law, Lisa Snavely, began to grow when a Snavely’s employee, who is a member of the sportsman’s club, spread the word.

“I was amazed at how well a local organization stepped up,” he said. “I’m honored to be able to be part of it all.”

Steve Lowe, who manages the Elstonville Sportsman’s Association, said the plan came together in only a few hours. They teamed up with the Elstonville Motorcycle Club to donate a full trailer load of water.

“The Snavely’s Mill employee brought it up to us last Sunday at the club, telling us what they were doing,” said Lowe. “He asked if we’d be interested in donating any water. The conversation started about 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon, and by Monday at 11 a.m. we were up at Sam’s Club filling a tractor trailer with 22 skids of bottled water.”

Truck driver Jed Guare (left) and David Snavely of Snavely’s Mill load up another trailer full of donated water for hurricane victims.

Manheim VFW chipped in with Snavely’s and Elstonville, along with a “collective of individuals” who generously donated enough to push the water well beyond the original goal.

“I was really shocked with the speed in which this came together,” Lowe said. “I sent a group text out to the management of the Elstonville Sportsman’s Association, and within a couple hours it all came together. It was really a surprise, and something that made us feel thankful.”

Lowe said the first truck left for Houston Sept. 13 just as plans to send a second truck were underway.

At the same time, Irma, a second devastating storm was heading up through the Caribbean on collision course with south Florida and the Florida Keys.

According to a preliminary estimate from Moody’s Analytics on Monday, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused between $150 billion and $200 billion in damage to Texas and Florida, comparable to the costs from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

“It’s going to take some time before all gets back to normal in both Florida and Texas,” Snavely said.

On Monday, Snavely was working on a plan to send some of the donations or one of the two trucks left to Florida.

However, it’s not as simple as it may seem.

“We’ve been considering sending a truck to Florida,” Snavely said. “But you’ve got to have a good place to go. The Red Cross is so buried in different aspects of these storms.”

The second truck is stocked only with water, while cleaning supplies have been added to the third truck.

“They need a lot of (bleach) and cleaning supplies because of the potential for mold in all that moisture,” Snavely said.

Snavely’s Mill posted photos of its water-filled trucks on its Facebook page and posted thanks to contributing businesses and residents in the community:

“The overwhelming compassion demonstrated by our neighbors is a testament of the American heartbeat — neighbor helping neighbor! Special thanks go to May’s Service Center and D&D Equipment Repair for their outstanding generosity.”

Snavely’s Mill Inc., founded in 1875, is located at 333 Snavely Mill Road in Lititz.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at or at 721-4455.

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