Trader Joe’s donates boxes of food to those in need after tornado

Trader Joe’s donates boxes of food to those in need after tornado

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Some say natural disasters can bring out the best in people. One group is seeing the best of a national corporation.

Every weekday, First Congo Food Justice Ministries cooks up a lunch for those who need it. On Thursday, jambalaya was on the menu. Some of the flavor came from something volunteers don’t see often in the kitchen -- shishito peppers.

“This is a first,” First Congo Food Justice Ministries Director Stephanie Rollen said.

Those shishito peppers, green beans and about 90 other boxes of produce and frozen meals were donated to First Congo from the Germantown Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s was one of the thousands of MLGW customers that lost power after Monday’s EF-1 tornado.

Rollen said the store quickly reached out so its food wouldn't go bad.

“This one was just spur of the moment,” Rollen said. “I got the call at about 2:45 [Monday afternoon].”

“I think they're choosing to do the right thing,” Volunteer Edith Ornelas said.

Rollen said the donated food will help them make about 750 meals this week. It will also be saved for meals down the road.

“Things we'll be able to freeze and turn in to stews and casseroles and soups,” Rollen said.

Any donated food to First Congo goes a long way. It goes to its food pantry and to other organizations like the one Edith Ornelas works with, Mariposas Collective.

“If [Trader Joe’s] has the opportunity to spread the love and pass it along so we can be able to help and sustain the community then kudos to them,” Ornelas said.

“Something like this is very heartening and encouraging to us,” Rollen said.

We’ve reached out to Trader Joe’s about this story, but have not heard back.

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