Wake County woman, Walmart come through with huge donation

ABC11 Together highlights the strength of the human spirit, good deeds, community needs, and how our viewers can help

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Sunday, September 16, 2018
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As the remnants of Hurricane Florence continue to ravage the Southeast with record-breaking rainfall, neighbors are coming together to help out others in need.

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Garner resident Shelli Tench said she felt the need to help out those evacuated by Hurricane Florence who are taking shelter at Garner Magnet High School.

With $50 and a prayer in her pocket, she drove to the Walmart on NC-42 in Garner to buy some much-needed items for the shelter.

Shelter staff told Tench that people staying there were able to take hot showers, but would have to put their dirty clothes back on - so t-shirts, socks, underwear, and diapers were high on their list.

Tench arrived at the store hopeful for a discount. Store management decided to do more than that. "We knew we had to do more than that for 400 people (staying at the shelter)," said store manager Jeffrey Jobes. "We knew we had to go above and beyond."

Jobes took Tench's $50 and turned it into $1,251.54 worth of store merchandise. "If you really go back to WalMart and the Sam Walton days, that's really what WalMart was all about," Jobes said. The 16-year employee from Toledo, Ohio told ABC11, "It's how I've been raised all throughout the company."

Tench dropped off the items at the shelter and they were overjoyed with emotion.

But the story gets better.

Tench woke up the following morning with a text from Jobes that read: "HEY HOW ARE YOU DOING? WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO FOR YOU?"

She could not believe it. Tench returned to the shelter and asked for a list of items, which included fresh fruit, Ensure, Boost, and Gatorade. She then sent the list Jobes who replied, "Give me 30 minutes and come meet me."

Waiting for Tench as she arrived were "cases upon cases upon cases" of items the shelter requested; enough to fill up her minivan. "I came in and I was literally just dumbfounded," Tench said.

Jobes told ABC11 there was "no way" he could say no to Tench's request. "It definitely gets our name out there that we're here to help in our communities," Jobes added. "Whether it's hot food at our deli, baby food, diapers, that's why we're here and what we fight for."

Tench's original post has since been shared over 24,000 times.

She felt the need to make a post so Jeff and the Walmart team could be recognized for their sense of community. "Hashtag get Jeff a raise! It's going viral, it's fantastic," Tench laughed. "We have our college rivalries and we have our things. But when it comes down to a crisis, we pull together. We are one family."