Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Business community finds ways to help

As relief workers continue to distribute essential supplies in areas devastated by the tornado that struck Tuscaloosa last Wednesday, several local businesses are pitching in to help.

Little Italy on the Strip has committed to distributing 500 free pizzas to shelters and relief workers over the next two weeks, and is working with vendors to get them to contribute. “A community always supports restaurants. It is now our turn as restaurants to support the community. We can’t go and use bulldozers to remove debris, but we can bring food,” Little Italy owner George Matta said.

Mugshots Bar & Grill has given out 700 free burgers so far, and expects that number to increase to 1200 by midweek. They have concentrated their efforts on those in need in the Holt area, according to Mugshots employee Cliff Rayburn.

“A few employees lost houses and lost personal belongings,” he said. But Mugshots is open for business, and working to help feed volunteers and displaced storm victims.

Moe’s Southwest Grill didn’t open last Thursday, in order to focus on locating its employees and helping the relief effort. “We rolled burritos all day and took food to homeless people and relief workers, “Assistant Manager Chris Itrato said. ”The effort was so well received corporate Moe’s jumped on board and sent support.”

Moe’s is currently using three vans, two of which were sent from Birmingham and Atlanta, to distribute over 500 burritos day.

“Our owners are amazing. I am proud to be a part of this organization,” Itrato said.

Home Depot associates are working with the Red Cross and other local nonprofits to volunteer in damaged neighborhoods and clear debris. At the corporate level, the Home Depot Foundation has set up a $1 million tornado relief fund. Of that, $250,000 will go to the American Red Cross and stores will distribute the other $750,000 to local relief charities.

“This goes beyond just helping locations where we have stores. We understand how much local residents were affected because our employees live in these areas. As a home improvement retailer, we feel like it is our responsibility to help,” said Home Depot spokesman Craig Fishel.

Best Buy stores are partnering with the Red Cross and other local organizations to assist in damaged neighborhoods. “Obviously as a corporation we want to help the communities where we do business,” Best Buy spokeswoman Carolyn Aberman said.

Andy Meggs, the Deputing Manager of the Best Buy in Midtown Village, said teams of associates from the store have been offering assistance to people in need and distributing water. “We have also been focused on getting the store back to help the community,” he added.

Rounder’s Bar hosted a Ryan Kinder concert over the weekend and donated a dollar from every drink sold, along with everything made at the door in cover charges, to the relief effort.

“The owner, Grant, had damage at his house. Two of our employees don’t have houses,” Rounder’s employee Erica Bauer said.

Lena Oshinskie, a freshman majoring in Spanish and English, said the outpouring of support from the business community has been great.

“It is really heartening to see local business owners supporting the community and it makes me feel more confident about continuing to patron their businesses,” she said.


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