BY TOM O'NEILL, SUE MacDONALD and BEN KAUFMAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Greater Cincinnati's corporate employers and employees doled out cleaning supplies, cellular phone service, fresh water and food to victims of the Flood of '97. Not to mention two more invaluable commodities: time and money.
After donating 50,000 pounds of industrial cleaners and sanitizers to flood victims through Cincinnati recovery centers, DuBois Chemicals and DiverseyLever wondered ''what more we could do?'' said Patrick Lindsay, vice president for marketing at DuBois.
The company asked a dozen suppliers to donate raw materials; Local 774 of the International Union of Electronics and non-union colleagues to work free; and packagers and transporters to contribute.
It clicked, Mr. Lindsay said Monday.
By the end of two volunteer shifts on an otherwise idle production day at the DiverseyLever/DuBois plant in Sharonville Saturday, 40 employees had produced another 120,000 pounds of cleaners and sanitizers for distribution through the American Red Cross.
Sunday, volunteers shipped the fresh 120,000 pounds plus 100,000 in stock to the Red Cross in at least 15 tractor-trailer rigs, Mr. Lindsay said.
It was typical of the contributions of many area businesses. Here are a few:
Jacor Communications raised $361,403 in pledges from its lunch event on Fountain Square downtown, including corporate donations from Thriftway ($50,000) and six others.
Toyota donated $500,000.
Seventeen companies donated food, cleaning supplies and bottled water to the FreeStore/FoodBank, which then was able to deliver 500,000 pounds of supplies to 19 flood-affected counties in the Tristate. Helping with costs was a $50,000 emergency operating grant from the Fidelity Investments Foundation.
Procter & Gamble Co. donated enough Tide detergent to fill 14 Wal-Mart trucks. P&G also contributed $200,000 to the Red Cross.
Cincinnati Bell Telephone crews, in a 24-hour period March 4-5, installed hundreds of telephone lines and gave cellular phone service to shelters in Kentucky's Pendleton, Kenton, Grant and Campbell counties and Clermont County in Ohio.
Ameritech last week donated 160 cellular phones and continues to collect toys and other baby items in conjunction with WYGY-FM (Y-96).
Cincinnati Bell also will waive connection fees for flood victims relocating temporarily, relocating permanently or returning home.
The OK Warehouse on U.S. 52 in Ripley offered storage to Brown County businesses and residents moving their belongings.
''We've got a big building here, so we're more than glad to let businesses and individuals store their stuff,'' said Gary Moran, a tobacco warehouse manager who is not charging a dime for the service. ''A thank you is all that's necessary,'' he said.
WKRQ (101.9 FM) raised $72,000 in pledges during a 24-hour ''Floodstock'' after the flood. Callers' song requests were played in exchange for donations to the Red Cross, and numerous celebrities called or made donations. Singer Richard Marx gave $1,000 and promised a Cincinnati benefit for disaster relief.
Home Quarters (HQ) Warehouse donated $10,000 to the Red Cross for rebuilding efforts and, this week, begins donating cleaning supplies and fresh water. In addition, it is offering zero-percent financing to flood victims for building supplies.
Fifth Third Bank has collected $68,000 to aid flood victims.