When a strong tornado moved through the community of Shelby, Ohio this April, it took many people by surprise. Classified as an EF-2 tornado, it traveled 17 miles through Richland County, with winds reaching 120 miles per hour, bringing with it lots of widespread destruction and damages.
The staff at Cornell’s IGA were ready to help, both during and after the event. As someone wrote on Cornell’s IGA’s Facebook page: “Kudos to Cornell’s IGA and their staff today during the tornado. They moved all the customers to the cooler for safety. Though it was cold and crowded, I am thankful they worked quickly to move everyone to safety.” The store was spared but lost power. Various locations through the community of more than 9,000 people—located about halfway between Cleveland and Columbus—weren’t as lucky and were hit by the tornado’s path. While many residential areas were untouched, two local car dealerships were leveled, along with other businesses and mobile homes. Other damage included downed trees, disrupted power lines, andcars lifted off the ground.
Right away, staff at Cornell’s and at Laurel Grocery Company (which supplies and operates the store) mobilized to help out, said Jake Jennings, senior director of marketing and advertising for Laurel.
“We were shocked, and at the same time feeling blessed that nothing happened to the store," he said. "We wanted to do something to give back to the community.” The first action was to revamp the store’s weekly ad to include items that would be relevant for people who were affected and may not have power, such as bottled water.
The next step was to set up some ways to collect donations. They made pinups to sell in the store and over the Easter weekend of April 19-21 ran an IGACarespromotion where people who donated $1 received three times the gas/fuel reward points and people who gave $5 received four times the reward points.
All of those small donations collected that weekend added up to $1,611.71 toward relief efforts, said Jennings. “It far exceeded our expectations in a short time.”
Shelby fundraisers present a check to Richland County Organizations for Disaster Assistance (CODA) for $1,611.71 for the recent tornado victims in the time of need. Pictured from left to right: Kathy Kelley from Shelby Mechanics Bank; Bill Burdge, Cornell’s store director; Cheryl Cramer from Shelby Helpline; Rebecca Owens from Richland Divot Catholics; and Terry Carter from Richland CODA.