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052919bp-charles-city-tornado-cleanup-5

A Floyd County Fairgrounds building destroyed by a tornado on Memorial Day. Photographed Wednesday, May 29, 2019, in Charles City, Iowa.

CHARLES CITY — Waterloo-based “Iowa love,” a new social enterprise with a mission of “uniting the millions of folks who have an affinity for Iowa while supporting Iowa businesses, craftspeople, and nonprofits” teamed up with three area businesses to raise $1,580 for cleanup efforts after a tornado struck the Floyd County Fairgrounds on May 27.

“We can’t thank ‘Iowa love’ enough for helping with our rebuild process. We are truly blessed to be part of a generous community and county,” said Amy Staudt, president of the Floyd County Fair.

The day after a tornado destroyed four buildings and damaged several others at the fairground, “Iowa love” (www.iowalove.org) founder William Heathershaw approached Charles City retail partner The Rustic Corner, where dozens of “Iowa love” shirts had already been adopted by the community since the beginning of May.

“We were determined that we wanted to donate a big chunk of our ‘Iowa love’ T-shirt sales — $10 of each sold — for the following 10 days,” said Tami Vetter, CEO of The Rustic Corner.

Soon after, Moe & Arrow Boutique of Waverly and Home & Gift Gallery of Mason City asked to join the fundraising.

Heathershaw also received emails from several companies across the area — from restaurants to laser engraving services — asking how they could help.

Since its founding at the end of April, hundreds have purchased an “Iowa love” T-shirt online (www.iowalove.org) or from 20 retail partners in 15 towns across Iowa.

In April, “Iowa love” donated $700 to flood recovery efforts in eastern Iowa.

“Iowa love” T-shirts also raise money for nonprofits including The Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum in Waterloo.

On Thursday, the group is launching a partnership with Rodney’s Kitchen of Waterloo, supporting the summertime free kids sack lunch program.

For those still wanting to support the Floyd County Fairgrounds recovery by purchasing an “Iowa love” T-shirt, efforts continue with Darbe & Co. Boutique in Greene. Orders over the phone at (641) 816-4040 are accepted.

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