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Food Drive Benefits Victims in Joplin

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
In just a few short minutes, life can be turned completely upside down.

Just ask the people of Joplin, MO.

On May 22, a tornado tore through their town, demolishing office buildings, destroying neighborhoods and killing more people than any other tornado since 1950, according to CNN.

More than 140 people died in the storm. Another eight are still unaccounted for. The survivors are left without power, sometimes without phone service and the really unlucky ones, without even a house to go home to.

The National Weather Service categorized the twister as an EF5, the highest rating given to tornadoes.

The video and pictures from Joplin, MO continue to be shown on television, leaving a lasting image in the minds of everyone who watches them.

Blues goaltender Ben Bishop was one of the people especially moved by the images, so much so that he decided to help organize a food drive to benefit the people in Joplin.

“Being from St. Louis, I actually have a lot of friends that knew people from Joplin or have families there,” Bishop said. “I saw the devastation on TV and wondered what I could do. I talked to Tyson (Strachan) and T.J. (Oshie) during a workout one morning. Then we talked to the Blues and came up with this idea.”

For three hours on Wednesday, seven players (Bishop, Oshie, Strachan, Barret Jackman, Carlo Colaiacovo, Alex Pietrangelo and Philip McRae) helped collect food and other donations from fans. After receiving their donation, the players thanked them, signed autographs and posed for photos.

The drive collected 13,192 pounds of food that will provide 10,554 meals for people of Joplin.

“There’s a lot of tornado warnings that you don’t pay attention to. Then something like this happens and it really grabs your attention," Bishop said. "(The food drive) is the least we could do."

All fans who donated received a voucher good for a free ticket to a preseason game later this season.

“I saw some pictures on the internet and some video from (helicopters) flying overhead. It's so devastating," Oshie said about the damage in Joplin. "This (food drive) isn't going to replace their houses or anything like that, but anything we can do to give back we're certainly up for.”

Fans interested in volunteering to help in Joplin, MO should click here for more information.

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