Through its ties to the community, three-store Gainesville-based grocer J&J Foods learned that soldiers in Afghanistan were running low on something very valuable: shaving cream. The soldiers use the white foam to mark suspected sites of roadside bombs, which can save soldiers’, and others’, lives and limbs.
J&J got word through a Marine’s father that his unit’s supply was “dangerously low.”
“We’re kind of on hold right now until we find if there are other areas in Afghanistan that are using shaving cream for the same purpose,” said J&J president Darrell Wiley. “We recognize the need. The Marines didn’t request this; they were just telling us what they were doing and we recognized that they could probably use some more and arranged to ship it there.”
J&J’s three stores—two in Gainesville and one in Dahlonega—set up displays for “Operation Shaving Cream,” which gave shoppers the opportunity to buy a 12-can case for $12; no additional charge for taxes or shipping.
Other businesses in Gainesville have lent their support to the efforts. Kipper Tool Co. is helping with the shipping; the North Georgia Community Foundation is accepting monetary donations to purchase and ship shaving cream. Milton Martin Honda is accepting donations of cans or cases of shaving cream, and The Shipping Depot is set up to package and mail cans dropped off at either of its two locations.
“It was a joint effort with the Rotary Club, Milton Martin Honda and Kipper Tool, and the North Georgia Community Foundation is accepting donations for this,” Wiley told The Shelby Report.
The local Marine is Paul Herdener, whose father Tony Herdener was spotted at J&J buying a large amount of shaving cream, which spurred the drive.
“We donated a case of shaving cream at that point not really knowing the story, and then we got a letter back from the Marine thanking us for the shaving cream…so we decided to do a drive. We set a goal of 10,000 cans, and this community came together and bought 10,000 cans of shaving cream in five days. We blew that away. We’ve already shipped it, they’ve received it and they are already using it.”
J&J has another 1,100 cases already purchased; “we’re just trying to figure out where to send it. We are getting calls from all over the country. I got a check from South Dakota on Monday (Sept. 5) for five cases of shaving cream,” Wiley said.