HADLEY, Mass (WGGB) – Hope isn’t gone for business owners whose livelihoods burned to the ground earlier this week in a massive Hadley strip mall fire. They are now seeing the good-nature of people offering to help.
The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce is helping to organize several local fundraisers.
“They’re wiped out. You know some of these business had just taken over from new ownership,” Joan Temkin of the Chamber said. “They had started with a little bit of money and it’s paycheck to paycheck.”
While a few local six graders raised over $130 selling brownies, the Amherst Cinema and other businesses are using donation jars to fundraise on countertops.
Meanwhile, the chamber has raised over $6,000 online via a Facebook event page Temkin says the money is needed because the 15 businesses destroyed were mom and pop stores and many didn’t even have insurance.
“These are one, two, five people businesses,” Temkin said. “They are really the core of the kind of businesses we have in the Amherst area and in fact throughout the Pioneer Valley.”
Vietnamese restaurant Banh Mi Saigon said on Facebook thanks to everyone for all the love, support, thoughts and ideas, we greatly appreciate all of the positive energy from you.
Temkin says everyone’s efforts to help will continue, giving hope to owners who on Sunday, could hardly see through the flames.
“It’s wonderful, it’s very heartwarming,” Temkin said. “I’m sorry about the event but it’s certainly making us feel amazed and appreciative of how much generosity people have.”
The investigation into how the fire started is still ongoing. In fact, some businesses have been given the opportunity to temporarily reopen their businesses in the area. Fundraising organizers say every penny can help while the business owners get on their feet permanently.
To donate, head to www.amherstarea.com.