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Ferndale Community Reaches Out to Hurricane Victims

Garden Fresh Gourmet, Dino's Lounge and other local businesses send food, water and clothing to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.

It's no secret that Ferndale has a lot of heart, and that generosity was clearer than ever this week as local businesses pitched in to send two semi-trucks full of supplies to hurricane victims in New Jersey.

Jack Aronson, founder and president of Garden Fresh Gourmet, partnered with FST Logistics to donate 20,000 pounds of Garden Fresh products to the Salvation Army to assist those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The company began filling the truck with ready-to-eat foods, along with clothing and bottled water.

When word got out about the effort, "it blew up from there," said Tracy Panther, administrative assistant with the Ferndale-based salsa company.

Local businesses rushed to help, donating water and food, and spreading the word with their customers about how to help. Soon, the truck was ready to go - and then some.

"It was overflowing," Panther said. A second truck leaves Tuesday, and the company is now looking to get a third truck.

On Friday, Garden Fresh security director Andy Wurm and Dino's Lounge owner Dean Bach drove the first truck to New Jersey and delivered the supplies.

"[Aronson and Bach] worked together to get this off the ground," Panther said.

"I'm taking you with me on this trip," Bach wrote on the Dino's Lounge Facebook page, where he is chronicling the trip to New Jersery in photos and videos. "We collected so much for the victims of Super Storm Sandy that I offered to help drive one of the 2 semis we filled! Ferndale is so awesome! We have been driving all night and arrived in Howell, New Jersey a little while ago. Lots of people in desperate need here!"

Find more photos and videos here.

If you want to help fill the next truck, donations of food, water or clothing can be brought to Dino's Lounge or the Garden Fresh headquarters at 1220 E. Nine Mile Road.

The desire to help others is not new for Aronson, who Panther described as a "great humanitarian" who in 2010 traveled to Haiti to help earthquake victims and funded a water-filtration system there.

"Jack is a man with the biggest heart I've ever seen," she said. "He's very involved with any community who is in need of help. He and his wife and his whole family ... they are just angels in disguise."

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