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Joplin Charity Drive at Manchester Dierbergs

A charity drive to help the victims of the Joplin tornado is taking place Thursday until 2 p.m. at the Dierbergs at Manchester and Baxter roads in Manchester.

The St. Lou Crew for Joplin, a charity drive to help the victims of the Joplin tornado, is taking place Thursday until 2 p.m. at the Dierbergs at Manchester and Baxter roads in Manchester.

Craig Wicker, organizer of the event, said residents have been giving generously since 7 a.m. and hopes the donations will continue well past 2 p.m. Wicker said residents can donate anything from dog food to clothes to diapers or non-perishable food goods.

Wicker, an Anheuser Busch employee, said a couple weeks ago he was sitting watching T.V. and looking at the Joplin devastation. He said he decided to get on Facebook and post the question, "Who wants to go to Joplin?"

"From there it just blew up," Wicker said. "We have gotten boxes with shoes, clothing, food. I was lucky to have friends who also wanted to help."

Wicker said about a week ago, he initially called a local grocery store in South County but the store manager there said the event was "too big" to coordinate. He later called the Dierbergs off Manchester Road to see if the store would let him set up the fundraiser there.

"They instantaneously said yes," Wicker said.

Jim Hezel, store director for the Manchester Dierbergs, said any time the store has the opportunity to help those in need, they will jump in.

"But the customers who go to our store and are donating their groceries today are the ones who are extremely generous," Hezel said.

Manchester residents Mary and Mike Brazier are among those who gave donations Thursday.

"We saw the pictures on T.V. of the disaster and we just wanted to help out," Mary Brazier said. 

Hezel and Wicker hope the generosity will continue as they want to fill four 53-ft trailers, scheduled to leave tomorrow at 6 a.m. in a caravan to Joplin. Thirty other volunteers will leave to Joplin with Wicker and stay there through Sunday helping the victims of the recent tornadoe.

The deadline to donate the goods is 2 p.m., but Wicker said if the goods keep on coming he will stay there until the trucks are full.

"So far, everyone has been supportive as heck," Wicker said.

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