On March 24, West Reading experienced a profound tragedy when the R.M. Palmer chocolate factory exploded, leading to loss of life, massive damage to multiple properties, and much more.
As the community grieved such a devastating loss and hailed the first responders and elected officials who worked tirelessly to do whatever they could to help, the small business owners that the area is known for stepped up to be a ray of light shining in the darkness.
Roughly one month later on April 22, multiple businesses came together to host a large fundraiser to benefit those affected by the explosion.
Held at the beautiful Olympian Ballroom, which is located on the 600 block of Penn Avenue, the fundraiser featured lively rounds of bingo, an Elvis impersonator, live music, delicious food and drinks, and a plethora of raffle items that had been donated by nearly 50 local businesses.
The generous raffle donations included a wide range of amazing prizes (such as Sorrelli jewelry, private shopping experiences, pottery to paint, and much more) that attendees could win, and all proceeds from the raffle tickets went directly to a fund set up for the victims of the explosion.
Small business owners Jake Daniels and Lindsey Bohn (owners of The Gem on Penn), Mark Woodward (West Reading Tavern), and Tina Schenk (Tina’s Salon and Day Spa; Winedown), as well as multiple other small business owners in West Reading who donated everything from raffle items to their time, were all instrumental in organizing the fundraiser and ensuring it ran smoothly. By the day’s end, the event raised over $11,000 for the victims of the explosion.
In a world where every day often seems categorized by dissension, tragedy, and loss, the West Reading community has shown once again that they are still as they have always been: Stronger Together.