Even if Bill’s Donut Shop‘s owners WANTED to end the shop’s tradition of collecting and providing emergency supplies to those hard-hit by natural disaster — they don’t, but if they ever did — there’s a good chance their customers wouldn’t let them.
The Centerville doughnut shop’s co-owner, Lisa Elam Tucker, says by the time she arrived at work very early in the morning of May 28 — just a few hours after tornadoes had ripped through several communities across the Miami Valley to the north — customers had already begun leaving emergency supplies at the shop, as they’ve done several times before when calamity strikes somewhere, including 2017, when Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, and 2018, when Hurricane Michael ripped through Florida.
On Tuesday afternoon, after a week had passed, Tucker and her brother Jim Elam were surrounded by supplies that filled part of Bill’s Donut Shop’s dining room, and they were starting to pack up the items on what would soon be their ninth load of supplies headed directly to the neighborhoods most affected by the Memorial Day Tornadoes that left hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed or damaged.
Items donated include non-perishable food, baby supplies, cleaning supplies, tarps, work gloves, flashlights/batteries, personal hygiene products and paper products. The nine loads of supplies have been delivered to various parts of Dayton, Trotwood, West Milton, Harrison Twp. and other locations.
The shop worked in collaboration with non-profit groups such as House of Bread, Hannah’s Treasure Chest and Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, and on its Facebook page, it has thanked the Centerville Police Department, the Centerville VFW and Irongate Realtors, among others, for help in coordinating the delivery of the relief supplies.
Bill’s Donut Shop has become a fixture in the Centerville community and a favorite among doughnut enthusiasts from all over the region. It moved from its original downtown Dayton location to Centerville in 1967. In the 1970s, there were several Bill’s locations in the Dayton area, including Vandalia, Kettering and Huber Heights. The shop moved to its current location on Ohio 48 in 1979.
Bill’s has garnered plenty of national accolades and shout-outs, including from People Magazine, which included Bill’s Donuts among the 12 doughnut shops in America that collectively represent one of the “100 reasons to Love America.”
Officially, Tucker said, the shop stopped soliciting supplies at noon Tuesday. But she knows more items will come in.
“I’m sure we’ll have another delivery, and that will make it 10,” she said. “Our customers just love to help.”
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