Proceeds from #MedinaStrong shirts shared with OCH Foundation, Office for Aging
Photo by Tom Rivers
MEDINA – The leaders of the #MedinaStrong shirt effort have shared the proceeds from sales of the shirts. The Orleans Community Health Foundation received $2,580 in the spring and then another $1,000 on Friday. The Office for the Aging received $1,000 on Friday.
Pictured from left include Melissa Blanar, director of the Orleans County Office for the Aging; Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoo; Scott Robinson, president of Medina Area Partnership and co-owner of the Shirt Factory Café; Chris Kozody, co-owner of Shirt Factory Café and originator of #MedinaStrong; and Heather Smith, director of the OCH Foundation.
Chris Kozody and Scott Robinson, co-owners of the Shirt Factory Café in Medina along with Scott’s wife Alix Gilman, were considering how to encourage the community back in late March. That’s when many businesses and the schools were closed to in-person learning or in-person customers due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions from the state to slow the spread.
Kozody and the Robinsons thought “#MedinaStrong” would be a good rallying cry for the community, encouraging residents and businesses to stay positive during a tough time.
The Shirt Factory hosted a #MedinaStrong cocktail party through Facebook live in late March with about 50 people tuning in, including former residents who moved to Washington, DC and Florida.
The #MedinaStrong message was connecting with residents. Kozody made an 8-foot-long “#MedinaStrong” sign that he put in the back of his pickup truck and used for deliveries.
Robinson, president of Medina Area Partnership, saw the momentum with the message.
Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoo, was shut down in the spring due to the state restrictions. He also saw power in “#MedinaStrong.”
Kozody, Robinson and Ramsey decided to have T-shirts made with the message with the proceeds going to a local organization that serves the community.
The first shirts were red and 200 went quickly. Ramsey sold many from his Canalside website. He made frequent trips to the Post Office, sending shirts to former residents who have moved out-of-state.
Those shirts were a sell-out and a second batch of shirts, in blue, were made and all 120 of those are gone. The proceeds from the first group of shirts went solely to the OCH Foundation with profit from the second group of shirts split between the Foundation and the Office for the Aging.
The OCH Foundation received $3,580 total from the shirt sales. Heath Smith, Foundation director, said the money will be used to help Orleans Community Health with some of its Covid-19 expenses.
The Office for the Aging received $1,000 and Melissa Blanar, director of the OFA, said it will be used for the Meals on Wheels program, which has seen a 15 percent increase since March.