More than $30,000 in merchandise was donated to the Vilonia Area Chamber of Commerce after the April 27, tornado allowing some members to get back into business.
"We tried to figure out what businesses needed to open," said Jill Bonnema, chamber executive officer. "A week after the tornado, we started contacting people and they starting helping us."
The help has come in the form of donated copiers, fax machines and printers as well as filing cabinets and office supplies. They have received desks, chairs and furniture including sofas, couches and loveseats, paintings and end tables. Most of the items are being utilized or will be utilized in the near future. A few items, Bonnema said, remain in a storage area and she anticipates it will be utilized as businesses get back up. The storage area, being donated by Billy Don and Brooke Kenney, has been a lifesaver, Bonnema said.
"I don’t know what we would have done with that. We are very thankful to them as well as to everyone who gave."
Bonnema said one person affiliated with HP donated two new HP copy/printers and a fax machine valued at more than $5,000 each. Wendy’s in Little Rock, Bonnema said, donated chairs to Vilonia United Methodist Church.
Naming some donors, Bonnema listed Business World of Little Rock, U.S. Bank, Arvest Mortgage, Conway Title, Pace Fitness, ERA Henley Realty and Wendy’s.
Chamber members suffered losses and who benefitted, she said, includes Kieth’s Service Station, Sue Shock Insurance, Vilonia Realty, Vilonia Chiropractic Clinic, Stanley Gordon and Associates and Vilonia Therapy Clinic.
Currently, Bonnema said, there are still needs including a need for several small desks, filing cabinets and display cases for the Museum of Veterans.
Anyone who would like to donate, may reach Bonnema at 501-499-1312.