Baker’s IGA Raises Money for Ohio Flood Victims

Jul 10, 2019

In recent months, many parts of the Midwest have been hit hard with tornadoes and heavy rains, including severe storms that have impacted much of Ohio. For Terrie and Gary Baker of Baker’s IGA, a group of four stores in the Buckeye State, the news hit close to home on Memorial Day weekend, when a record 18 tornadoes touched down in a single day across the state.

Terrie Baker credits her church, which immediately started collecting funds for the impacted areas, as giving her the idea to do something for victims of the storm damage. She set the ball rolling at all four stores, posting fliers and asking customers to contribute at the check-outs.

“We hadn’t rallied at this level since Hurricane Katrina,” she said.

Working with the American Red Cross, the Bakers began a fundraiser that ran June 6-16. “We requested donations would be specifically designated for relief to people in Ohio with storm or tornado damage,” she said. In addition to the more than $3,200 in donations Baker's IGAs collected at the registers, the company contributed $500 per store location to bring the total raised to $5,246.45.

Just as the fundraiser was wrapping up, disaster struck again. Eastern Coshocton County and the community of West Lafayette experienced flash flooding and storm damage when more than 11 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Roger Seitz is the store manager of Baker’s IGA in nearby Newcomerstown, and while none of his employees who live in West Lafayette had homes that were seriously damaged, three employees who live there couldn’t make it into work because the roads were so flooded they couldn’t get out of town.

Making matters worse for residents, many of the affected homes didn’t carry flood insurance and the community as a whole didn’t meet the criteria for state and federal disaster relief, said Terrie Baker. Most damage was in basements and did not meet criteria of two to five feet of water in the main living area, but many people lost important possessions. “In our area, everyone has living space in their basement,” she said.

In addition to the impacted homes and businesses, the area communities rely heavily on farming, with hundreds of thousands of acres devoted to corn and soybeans. Those farmers have been hit hard with crop losses due to weeks of heavy rains. “It’s been bad all over for everyone, but farm-wise it’s a disaster,” Seitz said. 


As a result of the worsening conditions, Baker's IGA switched gears again, and decided to designate the entire amount raised to the relief efforts in Eastern Coshocton County and West Lafayette. They've been upfront with communicating the change in fund designation, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. A letter posted to Facebook was shared over 115 times in five hours, and all the comments voiced support of the new designation. The Newcomerstown store is starting a second round of fundraising as well, said Seitz, and community members in the town and surrounding areas came in to help. “In time of need, our true selves come out,” Seitz said. The store provided potato salad, baked beans, and lunch meats to stations at a community church and a park setup for clean-up volunteers.


A community fund has been established for the victims in these communities. Baker’s IGA had previously raised $2,000 during their golf outing held last year for Baker’s IGA's 100th anniversary celebration. The money was in a donor-designated fund at the Coshocton Foundation. This money has since been directed towards this community fund. 

“People were thrilled the dollars were going locally,” said Terrie Baker.

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