PORTAGE TWP. — A few months ago this location was being considered for a potential Marijuana grow. After Portage Township officials decided not to permit that operation, the space has continued to sit vacant, making it a perfect choice the emergency distribution center.
“Today and yesterday we have been transporting all of this water and all of the food necessities for daily life into this storage area from all the churches and pretty much where everybody brought their donations to. We’re condensing it all into one,” said Samantha Lalonde, a volunteer with the GLCC.
This crew of 16 volunteers who came from the Marquette area have been moving those goods from Dee stadium to the former JC Penny space in Copper Country Mall.
Last week this group performed various other tasks in the Copper Country.
“Our crew and her crew have been here for the past two weeks now helping out here. We were down on Ripley Street helping gut houses and all that stuff. It was really cool to get to meet some of the people that were affected by it (the flood) and to get to help them. Now we’re kind of stocking up for whatever else they’re going to need in the future. The rebuilding process,” said Kayleigh Coffman of the GLCC.
The retail space will be used to house not only the warehouse, but will also serve as the new call center for the Volunteer Resource Center.
“It’s been a pleasure to help out people and it’s been really nice to get out into the community and just help people out. It feels good,” Coffman stated.
“We’ve really seen how the community works together,” said Lalonde.
Dee Stadium’s warehouse will be closing tomorrow. As Lalonde and Coffman’s crews will be heading back to Marquette soon, another team from their organization will be stepping in next week and opening the distribution center. An official opening day remains uncertain at this point.
With over 600 homes affected from the recent flash floods in Houghton County, area residents are being told that it is unlikely that financial assistance from FEMA will go toward home repairs, but funds will be allocated to repair roadways. Relief is available however from two local foundations. Earlier today The Portage Health Foundation announced that it is providing $3.8 million dollars to help those whose homes were affected. The Keweenaw Community Foundation has also announced that it will be distributing short term cash to those in need.