KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton Strong slogan continues to make its way across the Miami Valley.
The hashtag #DaytonStrong began appearing earlier in the year after the Memorial Day tornadoes. Concerts, foundations, and other businesses began branding fundraising efforts around the community by using the slogan.
In the weeks following the Oregon District tragedy, the slogan has spread even further and can be spotted on items of clothing, billboards and artwork across the area.
Chief Screen Printing is a Kettering business that specializes in printing designs onto t-shirts and other apparel. They began printing Dayton Strong t-shirts to raise money for The Foodbank in the aftermath of the Memorial Day tornadoes.
“Through social media and word of mouth we were able to move a ton of them,” said co-owner James Webster. “In the first two months, we raised just under $4500 for The Foodbank. The community support has been overwhelming.”
Demand for the shirt was steady throughout the summer but rapidly increased in the days following the Oregon District shootings.
After the second tragedy this year struck Dayton, the store announced that it would split the proceeds made from the t-shirts between two funds designed to support those in need.
Half the proceeds will continue to go to The Foodbank in Dayton for those affected by the storms. The other half is being sent to The Dayton Foundation’s Oregon District Tragedy Fund.
“Sales have absolutely increased,” Webster said. “Once we decided to split the donation, we had another swell of people looking for them.”
So far, the business has been able to donate an estimated $4500 for The Foodbank and nearly $2500 for the Oregon District Tragedy Fund.
The business said they have sent shirts all around the country to people who used to be Dayton residents but still wanted to show their support. They have also had several groups come to buy shirts in bulk for major events.
“It’s a way for the community to come together, to show that there is solidarity in the face of tragedy,” Webster said. “Regardless of where you are you just want to show that solidarity with the people that have suffered.”
There is no set date on when the company will stop producing the shirt. Owners say they will continue to make the shirt for as long as there is demand.
The company will also continue to send proceeds from the shirt to the two funds as long as they continue to stock it.
“We’re not trying to commercialize it and use it for something it’s not,” Webster said. “For us, it’s a fundraising effort for people in need.”
More information on the company and how to order shirts can be found here.
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