More than $20,000 was donated to two organizations helping residents impacted by the May 22 tornado damage.
The California Women's Business Council, a group comprised of six California business owners, organized a raffle fundraiser Neighbors Helping Neighbors after an EF-1 and EF-3 tornado hit Eldon and Jefferson City. The raffle raised $20,422.
"I think it just shows that our community as a whole worked really hard," organizer Brandy Brockes said. "We were literally overwhelmed by the generosity, not just the businesses that donated, but of the people that bought tickets or donated cash. It's a really good feeling."
In Jefferson City, funds were donated to Power JCMO, a Facebook fundraiser created by resident Nathan Hays to fill individual needs.
"Every penny we bring in, including the money we brought in today, will go to local people," Hays said. "Say someone needs tires on their car so they can go to work. I can buy them two new tires and get them a rotation if needed. Some people are too proud to ask for help, and they really don't need to be. I'm more than happy to put funds in the hands of people who need it."
In Eldon, funds were donated to the local ministerial alliance. Chris Reynolds, pastor of Ninth Street Baptist Church, accepted the $10,211 check. He expressed his gratitude for the hard work and help the community was able to provide.
"The Eldon Ministerial Alliance is a group of about nine to 10 churches in Eldon that meet the benevolent needs, as they arise, in the Eldon community," Reynolds said. "After the tornado passed, it was certainly a good platform for us to minister to people and through gifts like this. Through this gift, we will be able to meet the initial needs for our community and in the years to come as people move back into their homes. We are very thankful for your generosity."
A June 17 drawing at the Gathering Place featured prizes from 85 businesses in California and Moniteau County.
No residents impacted by the tornado remain in American Red Cross shelters. After the Eldon and Jefferson City shelters closed, the consolidated shelter at Russellville Baptist Church opened June 10. The shelter — which transitioned eight Jefferson City residents from the shelter that had been at Thomas Jefferson Middle School — closed Friday, officials said.
"Everyone from the Eldon shelter actually found housing and did not have to transition," said Sharon Watson, chief communication officer for the American Red Cross in Missouri and Arkansas.
Watson said five patrons stayed in Russellville overnight Wednesday. However, by the next afternoon, "all of the residents in that shelter had a place to go."
Stephanie Stokes, owner of Something Sassy and a member of the California Women's Business Council, said: "This all just proves what can happen if we work hard together. This is not just us as a council. This is what we can all do as a community."