A major Iowa-based retailer is launching a “Help Joplin” campaign after losing two of its stores in last Sunday’s tornado. Kum and Go, headquartered in West Des Moines, has 15 convenience stores in the Joplin, Missouri area. Thirteen remain open.

Company spokesperson Katherine Huggins says one of those stores offered a safe place for several Joplin residents to ride out the storm. “One of our stores, which was significantly hit by the storm, the associates there and the clerks next door at a separate business were able to survive the tornado by being in an interior room. It happened to be our restroom, but they held on and they survived the tornado that way,” Huggins said.

No one was hurt in the Kum and Go stores and the company is now gathering donations for the city’s relief effort. “Our customers have said, ‘what can we do to help Joplin?’ So, we’ve launched a charitable giving effort at all 400 of our stores in 11 states,” Huggins said. “People can come into our stores, go up to the cash register and continue to help Joplin with its relief efforts.”

Proceeds will go to the American Red Cross for recovery efforts in Joplin. The Kum and Go Foundation also will contribute.