Strongsville, Ohio — Executives and staff at National Automotive Experts (NAE) spearheaded a campaign that brought in more than 2,700 pounds of items donated to assist victims of the tornadoes that swept through the Midwest in May. The supplies, which included food as well as socks, underwear, work gloves, garbage bags and other items, were collected at the company’s Strongsville headquarters and distributed through a church in Oklahoma.
“We do as much for the community here (in Cleveland) as we can, and when we saw a need in Oklahoma, we thought we should help there as well,” said Kelly Price, president, NAE. “I just called a church and asked if we could ship our donations to them. They had a network set up and they distributed the supplies.”
Price kicked off the donation drive by buying $1,000 worth of goods at a local Costco. She and her staff packed the initial shipment into 80 boxes weighing a total of 2,000 pounds. Price posted updates on Facebook, which led to more donations. A second shipment included more than 700 pounds’ worth of supplies in 20 boxes, all sent by NAE to Oklahoma.
“We shipped it and never even looked at the cost,” Price said. “To me, it’s what God wants us to do.”
The May campaign marked NAE’s second major tornado relief effort. Two years earlier, a massive tornado cut a swath of destruction through the small city of Joplin, Mo. The tornado caused 158 deaths and nearly $3 billion in damage.
NAE’s director of agency development, David Neuenschwander, was a Joplin resident. His home and family were spared, so Neuenschwander worked with his church and a local dealership, Roper Honda, to distribute 1,775 pounds’ worth of supplies donated by NAE and the company’s associates, family and friends.
“We have a generous staff,” Price said. “We try really hard to do what we can.”