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Update: Stow Truck Bringing Tornado Relief for Tuscaloosa

A Stow company is collecting gently used items May 7 and 8 to send to those in Alabama recovering from the tornadoes that swept through the southern part of the country.

What started Sunday as a casual conversation between husband and wife will hopefully result in a semi-truck loaded with donations of furniture, clothing and basic living supplies leaving Stow for the tornado-ravaged city of Tuscaloosa, AL.

Update 7:48 a.m: TTR Shipping extented the time to donate to 2 to 4 p.m. today (May 8). 

Donations will be accepted  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at TTR Shipping, 1000 Campus Dr., during an aid event that’s been dubbed, Relief for Tuscaloosa.

Items collected that day will be organized, boxed up, loaded onto pallets, shrink wrapped, then transported 760 miles to the hard-hit Alabama city of nearly 80,000.

New items being sought by disaster relief agencies operating in Tuscaloosa include: bottled water, infant and adult diapers, wipes, formula, feminine products, toiletries, cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items and dog and cat food.

Gently used items that are needed include: towels, bedding, toys, furniture, clothing and shoes (preferably sorted by gender and size), electronics and appliances (in good working order).

Also needed Saturday are plenty of volunteers willing to help organize and pack donated items, as Relief for Tuscaloosa is not sponsored by an agency or company – just a handful of friends who jumped on a good idea.

Last Sunday, Stow residents Staci and Phillip Ross were talking about the devastation caused by a line of tornadoes that ripped through several southern states April 27. “I really wanted to help in some way, but didn't know how,” said Staci.

“These people [in Tuscaloosa] have lost absolutely everything. There are entire streets that are just wiped out – there’s nothing left,” Phillip lamented.

The Ross family just purchased new furniture for their living room, kitchen and daughter’s bedroom. They intended to sell their gently used furniture at an upcoming neighborhood garage sale, but had a eureka moment.

“We got to thinking that these families down south could probably use that furniture more than we needed the couple of bucks we would make from it ... so a dream was born,” Staci said.

Phillip called his friend, Josh Taylor of Stow, who owns TTR Shipping with his wife, Jen, and a plan started to take shape. Josh made a couple phone calls and secured the donation of a semi-tractor trailer from C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. to make the trip to Tuscaloosa next week.

On Monday, the Rosses sent a mass email to their friends, who then forwarded it to their friends. In no time, phones were ringing and email boxes were filling up with replies about Relief for Tuscaloosa.

“We can’t believe it’s evolved into what it has,” said Phillip. “The word just keeps getting spread further and further. The feedback we’ve been receiving is insane. More and more people are offering to stop by Saturday to drop off what they can. It’s all pretty exciting.”

“I am in awe of how many people have jumped in with both feet and shown such acts of kindness and selflessness. We live in a great community with great people,” Staci said. “I can't believe this little dream that started only a few days ago has grown so big, so fast, thanks to so many.”

The owners of numerous area businesses have stepped forward with a variety of assistance offers. Staci learned the American Red Cross prefers donations to arrive on pallets, so Plastic Materials Inc. in Akron donated 30 of them.

Acme is donating pallets of bottled water. Gavin Scott Salon & Spa in Stow is gathering donations. The Akron Aeros and Cleveland Gladiators will be issuing press releases seeking donations for Relief for Tuscaloosa.

And the owner of in Stow is taking pails of ice cream in several flavors to Saturday’s event to pass out cones starting at 11 a.m.

The Rosses don’t know what to expect Saturday, having never organized such an event. They fear not having enough volunteers.

“If people flock to TTR Shipping, as it’s sounding like, we’re going to need help sorting items out, loading trucks,” Phillip said. "Saturday could be overwhelming – or it could be a bust. We just don’t know.”

Those who have items to donate but can’t get to TTR Shipping on Saturday are asked to call Staci at 330-990-0573 or Phillip at 330-990-0624.

Amanda Harnocz May 06, 2011 at 07:42 PM
An Alabama man wrote this on our Facebook page: "I have just read an article that Kasha Legeza wrote concerning everything the community of Stow is doing to help our friends and family in Alabama. I want to personally thank each and every one of your for your support. It is wonderful to know that we have such wonderful people across the nation helping. Thanks to Staci and Phillip Ross, Josh and Jen Taylor of TTR Shipping, C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Plastic Materials Inc. of Akron, Acme Stores, Gavin Scott Salon & Spa, The Akron Aeros, The Cleveland Gladiators, and Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt for all of your support. God bless you all."
kimberly baker May 06, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Hi We are natives to Ohio, specifically the Stow, Ohio area, and I am so THANKFUL for the outburst of love and generosity! We were spared by the grace of God within 10 miles of these horrifc tornadoes(there were over a 100 that day!!) that seemd to never end and were relentless in their path of total destruction. The state(s) affected are coming together as a community, but some of the hardest hit areas are rural small towns, no only Tuscaloosa, but areas north and west of Birmingham,Al. These necessary items are greatly appreciated in donation, but we are also concerned about the kids who have nothing..Some who have even lost both parents. Some other donations to consider would be coloring books, stuffed toys, or anything to bring back some "normalcy" to the child's life.. It is so nice to know that others are willing to reach out to those they don't even know, but when you see the aftermath photos or hear the stories, you can not help but have your heartstrings tugged just a bit! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!!!!!!for everything you are doing to help us as my little neice would say(she also lives in Stow) "rebuild the town of Alabama" God Bless each and every one of you! Kimberly Baker
Connie Souleyrette May 09, 2011 at 03:09 PM
We want to donate a check and clothing but we need a name and an address please. We live in Charlottesville, Va. Please contact me at connie@ibcs.com. Thank You.
Amanda Harnocz May 09, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Hi Connie: I have sent an email to the Rosses, they should be able to let you know how to donate. Thank you for visiting Stow Patch!

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