Moo Moo Express assists Hilliard Food Pantry after devastating fire

Moo Moo Express assists Hilliard Food Pantry after fire

ETNA, Ohio — The fire caused significant damage to the food pantry’s warehouse. All food items had to be discarded.

ETNA, Ohio — Moo Moo Express Car Wash has always considered it a privilege and responsibility to give back to the community, the company stated in a recent press release.

Part of the Express Wash Concepts family of express tunnel carwashes, Moo Moo has donated millions of dollars in monetary donations and free carwashes to local non-profit organizations since opening its first wash in 2009.

Moo Moo’s community relations initiatives range from local event sponsorships, discounted wash voucher fundraisers, air freshener campaigns, an onsite towel exchange program, and donation campaigns centered around weekend initiatives and grand openings.

For each grand opening, a hyper-local non-profit is selected to receive monetary donations from the company’s “Free Wash Week,” a 10-day period to celebrate a location’s grand opening.

Throughout the event, free signature Crème de la Crème washes ($18 value) are given to all customers in exchange for a monetary donation; 100% of donations are given back to the designated non-profit partner.

The goal? To raise thousands of dollars to give back to a non-profit truly making a difference in the lives of people in that new wash’s community.

In late spring 2023, Moo Moo was set to open two new express wash locations in Hilliard, Ohio.

While evaluating local non-profits, Moo Moo came across the Hilliard Food Pantry, located at Life Community Church just minutes from each wash.

“The Hilliard Food Pantry serves more than 400 families each week and is seeing a 36% increase in people seeking their services over this time last year,” said Express Wash Concepts CEO and Moo Moo Express Car Wash Founder John Roush. “We knew that we could leverage the generosity of our customers to help this incredible organization and have no doubts that our grand opening donation positively impacted the lives of so many Hilliard families and community members.”

Moo Moo Express held its “Free Wash Week” celebration at its 3880 Brown Park Dr. and 3880 Park Mill Run Dr. locations in late April into early May, and proudly presented the Hilliard Food Pantry a check for $10,590.47 on June 9, 2023.

One month later, on July 9, 2023, the pantry would experience a devastating fire that caused significant damage and loss to all items inside.

The two-alarm fire, the second highest on the department’s scale of severity, was remarkably put out without any reported injuries.

Witnesses reported seeing flames up to 30 feet in the air.

Significant damage occurred on the church side of the warehouse, and smoke and water damage to the pantry.

All food had to be discarded because of toxins related to the fire.

Miraculously, the pantry only missed two food distribution days, and opened back up via a “pop up” pantry to service the community merely four days later.

“The outpouring of love and community support made this seemingly impossible situation seem bearable,” said Hilliard Food Pantry Plus Executive Director Erin West. “We started receiving many generous donations, including 100 pallets of food, but the challenge was we had nowhere to store it.”

Determined to find a temporary warehouse space critical to maintaining pantry operations, West began knocking on nearby business doors.

Dyenomite Apparel, a leading U.S.-based manufacturer of tie-dyed and garment-dyed apparel, earmarked space in their warehouse to help temporarily house the food while the pantry rebuilds.

The rent for the space, which West estimates they’ll need for a full year, is $1,000 a month.

“We are so blessed to have the option to temporarily house our pantry warehouse just 0.3 miles away from our original location,” said West. “We were determined to find a way to add that expense into our operating budget. We knew it was a necessity to continue offering uninterrupted services.”

It was during that time that Express Wash Concepts senior director of marketing, Jeff German, stopped by the Hilliard Food Pantry to check in on West and volunteers.

“We were saddened to hear about the pantry after all the great momentum we experienced working with Erin and her team throughout our grand opening,” said German. “We didn’t want to be a one-and-done partner — we wanted to know what we could do to help ease the burden of what they were currently facing.”

West explained to German the added monthly expense of the warehouse space rental.

Continuing to serve individuals and families without interruption during the rebuilding process was most critical — particularly at a time when census data is showing that the child poverty rate in the U.S. has more than doubled after dropping to historic lows during the pandemic.

When German alerted Roush to the pantry’s situation, the Moo Moo team devised a plan to issue an EWC Cares grant of $1,000 a month for the 12 months to completely cover the cost of the rental space.

Moo Moo Express, alongside sister carwash brands Flying Ace Express, Clean Express, Green Clean Express and Bee Clean Express, raise funds for the company’s EWC Cares Initiative from seasonal air freshener campaigns and towel exchange programs.

Eligible non-profit organizations are invited to complete an online grant application and assigned based on application review.

“We are humbled to be in a position where we can positively impact the Hilliard Food Pantry and enable them to continue to focus on doing what they do best — fighting food insecurity,” said Roush.

“Amazing partners like Moo Moo who proactively step in at times of great need are invaluable,” explained West. “We are well on our way to serving more than 1,000 families a month, and the generosity of this community-centric carwash is helping to make that happen.”

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