Grimes community members Danielle Carlson and Laura McConnell first developed the idea of creating COVID-19 T-shirts after seeing a Facebook post made by the local food pantry.

“Danielle and I believe it’s always important to help out our community in any way we can, but at this time helping those struggling to feed their families is most important to us,” McConnell said.

Prior to the outbreak of the virus, the Grimes Storehouse had served on average 50 - 60 families per month since its inception in July 2019. However, because of job layoffs due to COVID-19, the local food pantry has recently suggested on Facebook that they are going through more food at a faster rate. The pantry also posted that the month of March reached a new record, during which the Grimes Storehouse served more families than any other month since opening last summer.

“We have seen approximately a 25 percent increase in Grimes families receiving food from the Grimes Storehouse since the COVID-19 outbreak,” Denny Knudtson of the Grimes Storehouse said. “We are very blessed by the support we have received from local residents as well as companies, organizations and individuals from outside our community providing food and monetary donations. These donations will help with the growing number of those who are in need of food.”

As the apparel flyer co-chairs of the DC-G Booster Club, Carlson and McConnell used their experience to develop and implement their idea of an online clothing sale in less than four days. Together, with the help of The Graphic Edge located in Carroll, the two women were not only able to provide a quick turnaround on the art but also received a discount on the packaging and free shipping to their homes.

“There are people who may have never experienced this before, both adults in the home out of work, or a single parent now with no income. Feeding yourself and your family is a basic human need and we need to make sure everyone who needs help is able to get it,” McConnell said.

The COVID-19 T-shirts are currently available for purchase at $16.99 with $5 from each purchase donated to the Grimes Storehouse. The T-shirts come in various colors ranging from vintage navy to fuchsia frost and contain one of two logos, “Grimes Strong” or “We are all in this together.” McConnell said that the T-shirts would not only serve in memory of this “crazy time” but also provide community members with a way to support the local food pantry while practicing social distancing.

“We found some inspiration ideas and just modified them to work for what we thought our community would like,” McConnell said. “Our community has already done a ‘fill the trailer’ and provided a large donation of food, but we’re hoping to raise money so the food pantry can continue to purchase items that are so badly needed right now.”

With the online flyer just shared on April 10, the women have already received over 20 orders totaling almost 50 shirts, or over $200 raised. Those interested in purchasing a T-shirt to help support the Grimes Storehouse can place an order using the online flyer by no later than April 15.

“Grimes is an amazing community. People are always looking out for each other and in a time like COVID-19 we know people are struggling. We want people to feel comfortable to ask for help and know that there’s a community around you who is here for anything you may need, food or otherwise,” McConnell said. “This is not going away any time soon, so we need to continue to help out in the weeks and months to come.”