Schnucks holds carnival for Joplin tornado fundraising

Saturday, July 16, 2011 | 7:17 p.m. CDT; updated 1:00 p.m. CDT, Monday, August 1, 2011

COLUMBIA — Schnucks held a carnival in its parking lot Saturday afternoon to benefit victims of the Joplin tornado.

Allen Bridgford, a Schnucks courtesy clerk, said the event was prompted by the concern of his customers.

“Working in the store, we kept hearing about the total devastation over there,” Bridgford said. “We needed to do something to help out and raise the morale of the store.”

Several Schnucks employees formed a committee to plan the event. Entertainment included face painting, a cakewalk, a dunking booth and live music.

Gene Nowlin, the drummer for Fokus, a Mexico, Mo., band, was there at 9 a.m. to help set up the event. He and the rest of the band played live jazz and blues throughout the day.

“We’re just trying to do our part,” Nowlin said. “Those people are in bad shape, and you never know if we could be next.”

Schnucks and Spicewine Ironworks donated the food sold at the event, and Truman’s Bar and Grill provided the dunking booth.

The event raised an estimated $1,500. All proceeds will be contributed to the United Way of Southwest Missouri & Southeast Kansas.

According to volunteers, one of the most memorable parts of the day was when two young girls came in and contributed earnings from their lemonade stand.

Schnucks employee Tom Oleski said the day’s success was due to the enthusiasm of Columbia residents.

“I feel very strongly that the people of Missouri care about one another,” said Oleski, a Schnucks cashier. “There’s no place that cares more than this community.”

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