DAYTON STRONG: Oregon District business women raise thousands for tornado survivors after raising thousands to fight racism

“We have amazing patrons who, through supporting the shops, have given us a platform to raise awareness when we need to,” co-owner said.

Credit: Photos courtesy of Brittany Smith

Credit: Photos courtesy of Brittany Smith

A group of Oregon District business women rolled up their sleeves and rolled out some T-shirts in support of those trying to rebuild their lives after the tornadoes.

The owners of Heart Mercantile, 438 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s Oregon District, raised nearly $5,200 for tornado survivors mostly through the sale of Dayton Strong T-shirts and mugs.

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"We have amazing patrons who, through supporting the shops, have given us a platform to raise awareness when we need to," Heart co-owner Kait Gilcher told this news organization.

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The money was split between two Dayton-based nonprofits, House of Bread and The Foodbank.

The House of Bread serves hot, nutritious, lunchtime meals to those in need daily.

The Foodbank provides supplies for more than 100 member food pantries, community kitchens and shelters that serve as the charitable hunger relief network in Montgomery, Greene, and Preble counties.

The Dayton area was hit by 15 tornadoes in the later hours of Memorial Day 2019.

The owners of Heart, a business with ties to nearby beck + call and Luna Gifts & Botanical, were also part of the grassroots effort that helped in the days after the tornadoes.

>> RELATED: Women band together in wake of terrifying tornadoes in grassroots effort to help community

In June, Gilcher and fellow Heart's owners Carly ShortAmanda Hensler and Brittany Smith donated $5,191.78 to the YWCA Dayton from the sale of of anti-racism T-shirts featuring the 'f word.'

>> ‘Hate has no home here.’ T-shirt sales lead to big donation to organization that fights racism

"Dayton loves helping those in need, giving back to the community, and using the f- word. And so do we," Smith said. 

The store’s sale was in response to a rally on Courthouse Square about a week before the tornadoes organized by a group affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan.

>> Tornado relief: How you can help 

With the sale of Dayton Pride T-shirts, Heart raised $1,245 for the the Rubi Girls, a Dayton-based comedy drag troupe that has raised millions for local nonprofits.

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