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Local groups have raised thousands of dollars so far for disaster relief after May 22's EF-3 tornado that hit Jefferson City, and fundraising efforts have included T-shirt sales and a silent auction at a reunion and birthday party for Jefferson City High School's Class of 1972.

#jcstrong T-shirts

Becki Collier said at least 2,500 #jcstrong T-shirts had been sold as of Monday morning, including 1,800 sold through HyVee.

"We all know people love T-shirts," Collier said, and the idea of selling shirts to raise money for local relief came out of discussions among about 20 members of the 2012 Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Jefferson City class.

A website for #jcstrong T-shirts sales launched May 23, and the shirts were available at HyVee starting May 28.

Collier said there would be a meeting this morning to more exactly determine total sales numbers so far, but said the shirts have been selling fast — including orders from people across the country.

Out of the $10 sales price for a shirt, Collier said about $3 goes towards costs, and the rest will go to the American Red Cross's local relief efforts for the tornado and flooding.

She added Custom Screen Printing & Embroidery has donated ink and labor time.

The shirts are also available at Carrie's Hallmark and Schaefer House. Online orders can be made at

Nashville connections net big money for Common Ground

JCHS Class of 1972 already had a 65th birthday and class reunion party planned for June 1 at Memorial Park before the tornado, but Donna Brucks Birtles came up with the idea to have a silent auction in conjunction with the festivities to benefit local recovery.

Birtles said Stan Horn and Randle Phelps spoke with Common Ground, and that's where $34,000 and counting raised as of Monday morning will go.

Common Ground is a collaboration between a number of downtown Jefferson City churches that is intended to help families in their parishes overcome poverty. Common Ground helps people with rent, deposits, utilities and other financial needs.

Birtles lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and her husband, Beebs, is a professional musician and founding member of the Little River Band.

She said they reached out to the Nashville music community, and within an hour had three autographed guitars donated — from Toby Keith, Lee Brice and Darryl Worley.

Birtles said Jason Aldean is a friend of hers, and he gave an autographed cowboy hat and a couple of ball caps for the auction.

Tennessee Titans, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Cardinals gear; copies of her husband's memoirs; paintings donated by classmates; and week-long stays at a lodge in Montana were also available for bid.

Birtles said Phelps' generosity in giving people access to his Montana lodge for a week at a time — he opened it up to two more other weeks — raised about $8,000 by itself.

"We're overwhelmed with how successful it was," she said; she had originally been hoping to raise $5,000.

Rado Popp was involved in heading up the birthday party/class reunion, according to information from Jefferson City Public Schools' Public Relations Manager Amy Berendzen.