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Monday, October 20, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 8/6/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

DONATED GOODS

Companies pitch in to assist residents during lake event

Supplies diverted to region

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

A number of businesses large and small pitched in to help the region weather the weekend’s water crisis that sprung up when toxins from algae found their way into Toledo’s drinking water supply.

But many of those contributions may never be recognized, officials said, because of the hectic nature of the response effort on Saturday and Sunday.

Patricia Moomey, director of the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency, said through a spokesman Tuesday that it just wasn’t possible to keep track of who provided what, while officials were trying to distribute as much guidance and clean water as they could. She said, however, that a large number of firms came to the region’s aid.

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In particular, she said Kroger Co., CVS pharmacy, Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi Bottling, and Walmart were a big help.

In addition to diverting 4.2 million bottles of water to its Toledo-area stores this weekend, Kroger in Cincinnati also donated 4,800 one-gallon jugs of drinking water, company spokesman Jackie Siekmann said. The jugs were distributed through the Red Cross and the Toledo mayor’s office, Ms. Siekmann said.

In Rossford, one of the biggest donations came from Campbell Soup Co., which sent a tractor-trailer loaded with pallets of juice and ready-to-eat soup.

Rossford Mayor Neil MacKinnon said the donation was an immense help, as was the willingness of Campbell’s employees to help at Rossford’s impromptu water distribution center.

“The folks stayed and helped distribute it up until 8:30 when we closed. It was awesome. I can’t tell you how much that meant to myself and our community,” Mr. MacKinnon said.

About 100 of Campbell’s 800 regular employees at its Napoleon factory live in Lucas or Wood counties, said Brett Dunson, the beverage plant manager in Napoleon. That includes Mr. Dunson; he calls Perrysburg home.

Mr. Dunson said several employees were going up the chain looking for ways the company could help those without water. After a series of conference calls, Mr. Dunson had a truck full of some 8,000 cases of juice and soup bound for Rossford.

“We also figured not being able to use water to make meals, it was important we could give them something they could stick in a the microwave and warm up to be ready to eat,” he said.

Campbell also took supplies to the Cherry Street Mission in Toledo.

Also helping out in Rossford was Walmart, which sent a trailer full of bottled water to be given out.

Mr. MacKinnon said no one was keeping track of how many bottles were distributed, but he guessed city employees and volunteers passed out at least 80,000 bottles of water over the weekend.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134 or on Twitter @BladeAutoWriter.



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