By Michelle Reese

In a quote that’s probably been shared countless times on the Internet, Mister Rogers shared, “When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” Well, we’re in one of those times where the news can be pretty scary. But luckily, if you look around, you can also find incredibly inspiring stories. Stories that remind us that even though we’re practicing social distancing during the coronavirus crisis, we’re still a community that cares.

Here are some uplifting stories of Montgomery County businesses and individuals that are finding ways to be a shining light and helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep looking for the helpers … they’re all around us.

Let’s start with a story about 10-year old Jackson Carruthers. Last month, Jackson was really struggling with all the changes due to the lockdown, feeling isolated from friends, and was upset knowing that there are many struggling with access to food and basic needs during the pandemic. He woke up one morning and said to his mom, “I’d like to do something to help.”

Since they live in a neighborhood with a lot of people walking their dogs, he decided to make homemade dog treats to sell. He looked up a recipe and made batches of plain, bacon, cheese and peanut butter flavored treats, which he sold for 4 for $1. He raised $50 and completely sold out of dog treats over the course of two days. The money went to two local charities that Jackson wanted to support because they were giving directly to families in their township in need during the pandemic. Shane’s Kindness Foundation & The MIP Foundation shared with Jackson’s mom Kathryn that they are supporting 100 families with food. Jackson’s donation helped feed two families for 2 weeks!

Jackson Carruthers sold homemade dog treats to donate to local charities helping the community during the pandemic.

We love hearing stories like this! If someone in your family has been doing something special to help in the community, send us a Facebook message to tell us about it!

To keep the positive vibes going, here are some stories of how local businesses are helping others … 

Grumpy’s Handcarved Sandwiches

137 E. High Street, Pottstown

Almost immediately after schools shut down in mid-March, Grumpy’s started offering free hot breakfasts for students in need Tuesdays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. So far, they’ve fed over 600 kids at no cost to them. After they started getting people asking how they could help support the cause, Grump’s set up a donation site at this link. You can also donate bread, eggs, milk, potatoes and juice. Call 484-948-6061 if you have any questions.

You can also support Grumpy’s by stopping in (wear a mask!) or ordering takeout. They’re open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for breakfast and lunch and also offer dinner to go. By the way, Grumpy’s is a 2020 Happening List Finalist for Best Sandwich.

Boardroom Spirits

575 W. 3rd Street, Lansdale

When Boardroom Spirits saw that hand sanitizer was becoming nearly impossible to find in stores in March, they started producing it in their distillery. But rather than sell it, they gave it away for free! Bring your own mason jar, spray bottle or empty hand sanitizer bottle to pick up a free 4 oz. of the product per day. The sanitizer is made with ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerin and water, following the CDC’s recommendation. As of May 19, they’d given away approximately 750+ gallons to healthcare workers, first responders and customers.

In addition, they’ve been doing special giveaways over the past few months to benefit frontline workers. For example, just a few weeks ago, they asked people to tag their hero in a Facebook post. They randomly chose one winner to receive a $50 gift card, one gallon of hand sanitizer, a pre-batched cocktail and glass.

To help support Boardroom Spirits, place an order online. They’re open for pickup and now shipping anywhere in PA!

Hatboro Dish

102 S. York Road, Hatboro

Since the end of March, Hatboro Dish owner Jackie Evangelista has been giving out (with help from donations) free meals to the community.  Community Dinner is every Tuesday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

If you’d like to support Hatboro Dish, you can make a donation at this link. Or, you can order from their regular breakfast and lunch menu daily from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Or choose one of the “Family Meals” that are meant to serve four for dinner for $45. Jackie posts the family specials on Facebook each day listing what’s available for pickup (from noon to 1 p.m.) the following day. Order must be placed by 10 a.m.

Perkiomen Valley Brewery

101 Walnut Street, Green Lane

Our 2020 Happening List Winner for Best Brewery serves small batched, artisanal beers in a unique taproom that’s fully accessible to those with sensory and physical limitations. Their hashtag is #wherepatienceandpassionmeet, and their business motto is, “Make someone’s life a little easier. It doesn’t have to be big and extravagant. The small, thoughtful gesture gets the job done, too.”

With a business motto like that, it’s no surprise that this family business has been looking for creative ways to do good during this difficult time. Keep an eye on their social pages for current offerings. They’ve been doing a lot of specials where you can either opt for the discounted price, OR pay full price, and they’ll donate the discount amount to The Open Link. Most recently, they’ve started Beer & Business Pairings where they’re partnering with other small businesses to offer combo specials.

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Challenging times bring about new ideas! So we’re trying out something new! Beer & Business Pairings! If you like 🎥 movies and you like beer 🍺 our kickoff beer & business pairing is for you! We’re pairing with our Valley’s much loved Grand Theater in East Greenville with Brew & View Combo Specials! Here’s how the specials work: 🦁 Get a growler fill and Grand Gift Certificate good for 2 tickets- either pay full price $34.00 and we will donate the $4.00 to Open Link or you can purchase the combo for a discounted $30.00. Or 🐱 get a meower fill and Grand Gift Certificate good for 2 tickets- either pay full price $24.00 and we will donate the $4.00 to Open Link or you can purchase the combo for $20.00. Have your beer now and enjoy a movie 🎥 in the future! Many thanks to Ed for pairing with our brewery to help spread some joy! #perkiomenvalleybrewery #wherepatienceandpassionmeet #autismfamilyownedbusiness #greenlanebrewery #inclusive #foragedbeer #traditionalbeer #adaaccessible #mobilityandsensoryfriendly #greenlanepa #rt29

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You can support Perkiomen Valley Brewery by shopping curbside pickup Wednesdays and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.


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