By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
DANVILLE — Mill Street’s businesses will join together to help support employees of Danville’s BJ’s Steak & Rib House restaurant, many of whom have been left unemployed following the April 20 fire that closed the business.
The fundraiser will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Old Forge Brewing Company. The event is being coordinated by the Danville Business Alliance and Old Forge Brewing, with donations for BJ’s employees provided by several other downtown and Danville businesses.
“Being in the same industry, we saw somebody in distress and wanted to do whatever we could to help out,” said Jace Rovenolt, general manager of Old Forge Brewing Company.
Old Forge will provide the food, with costs covered by the DBA, Rovenolt said, meaning guests can eat for free. Any tips collected will be matched by Old Forge and used to support BJ’s employees. Rovenolt was not yet certain what the menu would be.
Representatives from other local businesses will also be in attendance, giving BJ’s employees a chance to network.
“It will almost be like a little job fair,” Rovenolt said.
“We approached it from several standpoints — community need, community interest, individual need and simply wanting to do the right thing,” said Jim Wilson, executive director of the Danville Business Alliance.
About 40 people were left unemployed after the Easter Sunday fire, though some have found work at BJ’s Selinsgrove location or have applied elsewhere, Wilson said.
Local businesses supporting the event and the BJ’s staff include Beiter’s Department Store, Chef Willie’s Creamery & Eatery, Cole’s Hardware, D’s Clothier, Danville Sub Shop, FNB Bank, Giant Food Store, Jersey Shore State Bank, LT Evans, M-C Federal Credit Union, Pub II, Service 1st Federal Credit Union and Henry Volecker Inc.
Many of those businesses donated gift cards distributed to BJ’s employees, Wilson said. “We’re hoping the fundraiser will add to what businesses have already donated.”
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