Bill’s Donut Shop to help Tennessee storm victims — and this time it’s personal

Jim Elam and his sister Lisa Tucker, owners of Bill's Donut Shop. MARK FISHER/STAFF
Jim Elam and his sister Lisa Tucker, owners of Bill's Donut Shop. MARK FISHER/STAFF

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

The owners of Bill’s Donut Shop in Centerville are taking a slightly different tack in helping victims of Monday’s tornadoes in central Tennessee compared to their response to other recent natural disasters, and this time, it’s personal for them.

“Both my parents grew up in Putnam County near Cookeville, Tennessee,” said Lisa Tucker, who co-owns Bill’s with her brother, Jim Elam. “I still have several aunts and uncles in the area, but we have heard they’re all okay.”

>> Oakwood grad snags James Beard semifinalist award for nation's top pastry chef

That Cookeville area, about 75 miles east of Nashville, suffered some of the worst destruction and the most deaths during Monday’s tornado outbreak in central Tennessee. At least 18 of the estimated 25 victims killed by the storms were from the Cookeville-Putnam County area.

>> ALSO NEW TODAY: Corner Kitchen bar manager snags a spirited scholarship to Europe

In several previous high-profile natural disasters, customers of Bill’s have dropped off drinking water and other supplies at the doughnut shop, and Tucker and Elam have made arrangements with the help of local businesses and police to deliver the supplies to the hard-hit area.

>> Here's what their parents made Bill's Donut Shop owners do before they bought the shop (December 2018)

But this time, Tucker said, the shop will collect monetary donations and gift cards for storm victims, and will coordinate with the Centerville Police Department and the Cookeville, Tennessee police department and other agencies in the storm-ravaged region to put those donations and gift cards into the hands of the people who need them most.

>> END OF AN ERA: 2nd Street Market bakery owner says 'We're done' after 17 years

Tucker said she had seen reports of other agencies collecting supplies, and believes collecting monetary donations and gift cards will help Tennessee residents who have lodging and other needs.

Bill’s Donut Shop, located at 268 N. Main St. (State Route 48) in Centerville, will celebrate its 60th anniversary later this year.

In Other News