The morning of Saturday, Dec. 11 was a difficult one for many communities in Western Kentucky as they surveyed the wreckage from the devastating tornado that swept through the night before. First responders jumped into action to save lives and shelter newly displaced people.
Mark Duncan, Store Director of our Bowling Green store, received his first call for assistance at 9 a.m. from nearby Jennings Creek Elementary School which was serving as a shelter for those who had been displaced by the storm.
“They said they had a lot of people and no food, so we packed up Lunchables and fruit and water,” Mark said. “We were the first donations on the scene when we got there.”
A few hours later, Mark received a second call from the school asking for laundry baskets the families could use to collect their belongings and then that evening another call came for pillows, all of which his team delivered without a moment’s hesitation.
The next morning, Mark stopped by Warren Central High School, the site of another disaster recovery center to ask what they needed. They requested clear totes to organize personal belongings as well as the influx of donation items beginning to arrive. Mark sent 70 totes as well as team members to serve as volunteers to help organize them.
Store team members then delivered food trays to the Bowling Green Police Department as well as Gatorade and Kind Bars to the local fire department.
While doing all of this was hard work for Mark and his team, especially considering they’re members of this community and personally affected by this tragedy as well, they’d tell you it’s worth it.
“I’m proud [of the support we’ve offered],” Mark said. “I have a lot of pride right now and my team members have a lot of pride right now. They’re tired, but they’re proud of what we’re doing in our community.”
And the support didn’t stop after the weekend. The following week, Mark received calls from the Red Cross, City of Bowling Green and United Way asking for help securing toys for children in need, all of which he gladly took care of. He
“It comes back to family,” Mark said. That’s the key thing with Meijer, we’re a family and this community is our family. It’s about taking care of people and that’s just the right thing to do… it’s just what you do for your family.”
Mark’s store is one of many of our Kentucky stores that stepped up to assist our communities during this very difficult time and we’re proud of the role our teams have played on the ground in serving their neighbors. In total, we have donated more than $300,000 in direct relief, products and toys to support recovery efforts in the great state of Kentucky.